YEP Crew Blog Post: A Guide to ‘Lightening Your Vagina’ 101

  1. It’s called a Vulva.

If you follow any beauty influencers on Instagram, you would know that Huda Beauty (formally known as Huda Kattan) is the most well-known beauty influencer at this point of time with the greatest following.  With a reach to over 25 million people, Huda Beauty is famously looked up to for her beauty hacks, tips and tricks.  More recently, she has been placed under fire by other beauty influencers on Instagram for her article “Why Your Vagina Gets Dark And How To Lighten It”. She supports her advice by ensuring readers it has been run past a well-known dermatologist by the name of Dr. Doris Day.

Young people often turn to Youtubers, influencers and well-known public figures for advice on how to look the way they do or do things the way that they do.

In Huda Beauty’s article, she begins by addressing the concerning issue of many Youtubers putting up videos on how to create do it yourself (DIY) creams and ‘masks’ for your vulva to help lighten the skin colour.  I believe this is one of the few things this article has done well.  Young people often try find a quick fix that doesn’t have to result in them telling their problems to their doctor (who may also be their family doctor).

Firstly, there is a great danger by putting any cream or substance down there without doctors’ approval.  Unfortunately, this point has not been significantly highlighted and I would say is very problematic.  The point is made to ‘See your dermatologist’, however, for young people reading this who don’t have a dermatologist, I can see them completely ignoring this point and looking for a more convenient alternative at hand.

Secondly, as a mass influencer, Huda Beauty helps to set many trends for women around the globe.  For many coloured women, having darker areas of skin around the body is a common occurrence.  Posting an article which has no points to state that the skin around the vulva may be dark due to genetics can poorly misguide young people and can lead to unpleasant self-esteem issues or insecurities.

A statement was released after an uproar on social media about this poorly written article which stated that “[we] want to express that we do not feel lightening your vulva (vagina/ lady parts/ VJJ,) is necessary” correcting their terms and reassuring readers they should not feel pressured to adhere to the latest trend.

A word of advice from myself:  Always see a doctor if you are concerned about any of your body parts.  Don’t turn straight to a Youtuber or influencer and believe the information they strategically feed you.  Although they may have a credible source, the way an article is written could poorly misguide you to possibly doing more harm than good.

Lastly, everybody and every body is different.  Whether you have a light or dark vagina, don’t fall into the trap of listening to celebrity public figures who tell you they know what they’re talking about.  If they’re not an expert in the field, I would recommend you go find one.

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Jesse Altham

Hey! My name is Jesse and I’m a 23 year old from Fremantle, WA. I’m finishing up my Diploma of Youth Work with North Metro TAFE, completing my last practical placement here with the YEP crew. I am extremely passionate about politics, advocacy and education and I’m so fortunate to be working with YEP in the space of peer education.

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