While we might scoff at the spray-tanned guys of "Jersey Shore" and their year-round pursuit of bronze, skin lightening isn't so easy to laugh off. First, skin lightening is far more globally and culturally pervasive than tanning, with pressure to lighten being highest for those of Asian, Latino, and African ethnicities. For instance, baseball star and native Dominican Sammy Sosa made headlines in 2009 when he copped to using a nightly skin bleaching cream that had noticeably whitened his face. A couple weeks ago, Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel sparked controversy regarding his forthcoming cosmetics line that includes a skin lightening solution called "cake soap."
Is Beyoncé Knowles' bleached blonde hair and light skin reason enough to accuse the singer of racial treason? Yes, says Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who just penned a piece in the Daily Mail about how Beyoncé is betraying black and Asian (meaning South Asian) women with her exterior.
Dermatologists are seeing a rise in the number of women with skin problems stemming from bleaching creams. Thinning of skin, bruising and acne are some of the adverse effects doctors have noticed. Despite the risks of skin bleaching, sales of lightening creams are strong, the New York Times reports.