Incomplete thoughts, idea soup; let me at least put something out here.
By permanent skin dye, I don’t mean a few patches here or there or tattoos, or anything of the sort. When I refer to permanent skin dye, I mean nothing less than the ability to dye oneself or to go through a treatment that changes the color and shade of one’s skin all over the body. In hypotheticals regarding PSD It is relatively cheap, around 200$ in first world countries, and far less expensive but of lower quality everywhere else, side effect’s of cheap PSD are, skin irritation, rashes, full-body acne staining for up to six months after treatment, and increased rates of skin cancer (kind of counteracted by the fact that dyed skin is far less likely to become sunburnt). It isn’t considered a medical procedure as it often takes a number of treatments over the course of a few weeks to sink in and, if done correctly, could be completed at home. (adjusting the shade a bit would be cheap and easy a simple full-body soak and some unique “makeup.”)
I don’t believe that PSD would be cheap at first, and it would take a few months to become known and a few years to get past the main controversy regarding it. Not to say that the usage of it would be seen as something positive, but there would at least be a lot of usage and re-usage by actors getting into a specific role. The cheaper publicly available versions would probably be artificial tan or the like, and it would become cheaper and more advanced from there.
Now about the elephant in the room, race and racism. Some people will have more trouble being racist as skin color would be partially removed from the equation. Still, people who are actually racist will simply pay more attention to the structure of the face and skull, and in the information age, somethings can’t be easily hidden.
Any associations between skin color and culture or identity will actually be exaggerated when skin color will become a choice as people will dye their skin in imitation of friends role-models and pop-artists (I’m counting rap and hip-hop as pop music as the music is only part of it) and people will remain natural in order to connect to their heritage. This will increase judgment based on skin color except in the cases of naturalists (I need a better word here but I’m out of time), people who are against PSD because it is unnatural.
I would like to assume that eventually, skin color wouldn’t matter, but I think it is more likely that people will define themselves more than ever with how they look even going so far to create new skin colors, blue, green, red, pink, etc. This would begin with small cultural groups or small groups of wackier people. Still, in time these groups would grow. There may be a generational skin color gap as people would color themselves after the celebrity of their generation, and tinted skin would define something about who they are. Over time the color would become more and more extreme, as seeing weirdly colored people would become more commonplace. There may even develop a type of caste system as the children of the rich may have gold mixed with their dye so to show off their place. People would have more detailed patterns, and I can’t help but see humanity in a few hundred years as being as colorful and full of weird detail.
10 Things I left out or forgot to consider:
- Matters of a more personal nature
- Politics – this could change everything
- Facial structure related exercises and surgery
- plastic surgery
- Side effects
- The use in eastern cultures at least early on
- the controversy and reaction early on – Also could change everything
- It’s adoption if at all – yeah…
- PSD first being used by some rich eccentric types
- Tattoos, spots, markings and other uses of PSD