The light under my black skin


Toning. Lightening. Brightening. Whitening. While the marketing slogans promoting skin enhancement in Africa might be varied, the underlying effects are pretty identical. Although I do not use skin lightening products, I live in Nigeria where millions of women do.

On offer in my local shops are a myriad of products designed to make dark skin lighter: Kojic acid soaps, fade creams, hydroquinone creams, whitening shower gels made from goat milk and for the more determined: skin lightening injections.

Skin lightening products on sale in Nigeria

So when last month Vera Sidika, a popular Kenyan model and socialite, publicly admitted to spending tons of money bleaching her skin, she added fuel to an already smoking hot fire. Just one admission was enough to re-ignite the fierce debate about Africans’s perception of beauty.

A bullish Sidika says she is proud of the way she looks and thinks African societies are hypocritical on this thorny issue. But her honesty roused the ire of many social media users across the continent.



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