A 21-year-old African American college student has disliked her dark complexion for years. She believes that black women with light complexions have a better life—better grades, better boyfriends, better job opportunities. In her view, these women are treated better by society in every way. She believes her chances of being successful in life would be appreciably improved if her skin were a few shades lighter. She tries some creams available at a beauty supply store that claim to lighten complexion, and she notices a very slight lightening of her skin. She is encouraged by this change, but wants something stronger. She has heard from a friend that dermatologists can give prescriptions for stronger products, so she makes an appointment to see a dermatologist for further assistance in lightening the color of her skin.
Imadojemu S, Fiester A. Skin Bleaching as a Dermatologic Intervention: Complicity or Service? JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(8):901–902. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4995
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: