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Cosmetics 2016, 3(3), 33; doi:10.3390/cosmetics3030033

A Fairer Face, a Fairer Tomorrow? A Review of Skin Lighteners

Department of Dermatology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 719 Umbilo Road, Durban 4001, South Africa
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Academic Editor: Johanna Maria Gillbro
Received: 7 May 2016 / Revised: 11 July 2016 / Accepted: 18 August 2016 / Published: 7 September 2016
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Abstract

From light-skinned deities depicted in ancient religious tableaux, pearl-swallowing practices in China, turmeric ceremonies in India to clay application in Africa, history has been coloured by our questionable aversion to the darker shades. Complexion has assumed psychological, economic and political currency with continued growth in the desire for skin lighteners sweeping the boundaries of country, race, cultural and socioeconomic status. This review explores our early associations with the symbolism of colour through religion, the ideals of complexion across cultures and time, the motivations behind the use of skin lightening practices, and the use of colour within political and economic agendas. Skin-lightening agents with regard to content, adverse effect profile and regulation are discussed and safe skin care practices in assisting with an individual’s adoption of a more tolerable spectrum of shades are alluded to. View Full-Text
Keywords: skin-lighteners; skin bleaching; black skin; ethnic skin; history; culture; economics; motivations; ingredients; abuse; adverse effects skin-lighteners; skin bleaching; black skin; ethnic skin; history; culture; economics; motivations; ingredients; abuse; adverse effects
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Naidoo, L.; Khoza, N.; Dlova, N.C. A Fairer Face, a Fairer Tomorrow? A Review of Skin Lighteners. Cosmetics 2016, 3, 33.

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