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The confounding popularity of skin whitening creams




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While people across California are lathering on sunblocks and tanning lotions to step into the summer sun, some are concerned solely with how not to get tan. For many people of color, especially women, light skin is a large part of looking beautiful. In countries like China, Korea, Japan, and India, skin whitening is a normal part of beauty routines.

Dermatologists and other health experts come down on different sides of the issue -- while some argue that the ingredients in skin lightening products are dangerous and should be banned, others say that these creams are less toxic than hair dyes, and that people with naturally dark skin should have access to treatments which may be used to help fade a scar or dark mark.

Are skin whitening products dangerous? Should they be banned?

Guests:

Eric Li, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of British Columbia in Canada. He has researched extensively on the cultural phenomenon of skin whitening cream in Asian cultures

Virginia Lee, senior research analyst at Euromonitor, a global market research firm. Lee has followed the skin whitening cream market