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13 Feb, 2014

Skin-whitening creams reveal dark side of beauty – DAWN.COM

SKIN-whitening cosmetics are a multi-billion dollar industry pushing the idea that beauty equates with white skin and that lightening dark skin is both achievable and preferable.

The cosmetics industry has traditionally relied on convincing people that they are incomplete without a particular product. Yet, unlike make-up or fake tan, skin-whitening creams base beauty on a racial hierarchy, fuelling intolerance and causing serious social harm.

In a country such as India, the dominance of fair skin has both a colonial and a caste legacy and the global narrative is that those at the top of society have fair skin. With issues such as employment and relationships often resting on skin tone, people invest in skin-whitening creams in the hope of a better existence. Capitalising on this inequality, hundreds of products are peddled by corporations, among them armpit whitener, genital whitener and fairness baby oil.

Read the rest: Skin-whitening creams reveal dark side of beauty – DAWN.COM.