Abusive use of skin colourants
Abusive use of skin lighteners
Amongst Caucasians extensive use is made of lotions and ultra-violet lamps to assist tanning. Amongst the dark skinned, especially women in developing countries, widespread use is made of skin lightening formulations. In both cases there is increasing evidence of dangers to health. In the case of tanning, the danger is of skin cancer. In the case of skin lighteners, dangers arise from the toxic products which may be used in the lotions (and which are often banned in industrialized countries) and from the removal of the dark pigmentation which increases vulnerability to ultra-violet and thus to skin cancer. Especially powerful, and therefore dangerous, lighteners tend to be used by women in lower income groups, because of the competitive advantage it gives in such activities as prostitution. Dissatisfaction with skin colour is promoted by aggressive advertising.