Skin-lightening products have exploded in their availability on major social media platforms where there are few rules about how they are promoted or sold. With some products containing potentially toxic ingredients, consumers could be at risk.
Written by:Jacqui Palumbo, CNN
Editors: Meera Senthilingam, Eliza Anyangwe; Illustrations: Kathy Kim; Data journalist: Carlotta Dotta; Researchers: Elizabeth Yee, Jacqui Palumbo
Updated 20th June 2022
Editor’s note: This story is part of ‘White lies‘, a series by CNN’s As Equals investigating skin whitening practices worldwide to expose the underlying drivers of colorism, the industry that profits from it and the cost to individuals and communities. For information about how CNN As Equals is funded and more, check out our FAQs.
Once primarily sold in markets and beauty stores, skin-lightening products have exploded in their availability online and today, they are pervasive on every major social media platform.
On Facebook and Instagram, vendors hawk creams and serums that promise lighter skin yet offer scant information about the products themselves, while on YouTube and TikTok you can find thousands of tutorials by people promoting potent products or home remedies without qualifications that support their claims. On TikTok alone, the hashtag #skinwhitening has over 254 million views, while #skinlightening has another 62 million.
“Social media has become the most powerful tool right now for the sale of skin-lightening products,” says Dr. Anita Benson, Nigeria-based dermatologist and founder of the Embrace Melanin Initiative to combat colorism and harmful skin-lightening practices in Africa.Tiếp tục đọc “Social media is rife with skin-whitening products. But little is being done to regulate the market”