In an article by Danish newspaper Berlingske about Signe Okkels Larsen’s short film ‘Lysere piger er altid smukkere‘, it’s states how aggressive marketing and western colonization play vital roles as to why many desire lighter skin. Even after several media outlets make attempts to counteract this by educating and inundating locals on the controversies and severe health implications, the sales of mercury and hydroquinone ridden products are still on the rise.
As part of a media project exposing the skin bleaching rituals in Zambia, ‘Lysere piger er altid smukkere’, translated to ‘Lighter Girls Are Always More Beautiful’, follows 26 year old Flavia Mwape, who has spent the last 3 years of her life trying to achieve a more eurocentric look.
American hip hop, instagram and popular culture play a huge influence in Mwape’s quest, so much so that she’s recently replaced her skin lightening cream for the controversial bleaching soap Citrolight.
She explains, “When my face was brighter than the rest of the body, I decided to find a product that could give me the same color all over. So I went to some girls that I thought had a nice color, and asked what they used.”
Several reports have stated that Citrolight contain mercury and hydroquinone, ingredients that not only cause hyperpigmentation and permanent scars, but kidney damage, skin cancer and damage to the central nervous system.
View the film below: