Issue 39, Prayer, World

Skin Bleaching In The Philippines

Join our telegram channel

Skin Bleaching In The Philippines


1500s A.D.
Origin of skin bleaching.

GENERATIONS of mixed-race relationships,
it now impacts countries like Ghana, Africa, the Philippines, and India.

US$31.2 BILLION BY 2024
Expected industry size of the Skin Whitening Industry according to studies
by the World Health Organization.

In many countries around the world, skin bleaching is a counter-cultural phenomenon. Otherwise known as ‘skin lightening’ or ‘whitening’, this procedure has insurmountable side effects, and can cause deadly results. Even if products are used in legal limits, skin bleaching can cause the skin discolouration, scarring, kidney, liver, or nerve damage, mercury poisoning, and abnormalities in a newborn baby (if used during pregnancy). Yet to many, the possibly painful consequences are ignored in the pursuit of “beauty”.

Seen as a benefit that outweighs the risk, users of these creams, pills, and medical procedures believe that though the substances are banned, beauty is pain, and a price they are willing to pay. But why? Through a historical trend of success, wealth, and value attributed to lighter complexions, many have fallen victim to the claim that beauty is only skin deep.


Since the 1500s, people groups have been taught to love fairer skin. In the Philippines, for example, the descendants of the native brownskinned Indios people and the white-skinned Spaniards became a group treated as higher-class, status, and worth just because of their fairer complexion. Through colonial influence, this desire for lighter skin can be traced to European colonists (Portuguese, French, Dutch, and British) who according to Ngunan Adamu of Wellcome Collection, “exported their prejudice to the people they enslaved.” Becoming desirable for its ascension to prosperity and rank, the importance of this paleness was an attempt to justify racial slavery. That is, African Americans were seen as inferior to whites, and because whites had more opportunities, skin bleaching could bring success.

At this moment, Filipinos are just one group fighting for lighter skin, with the hopes of securing a brighter future with more economic opportunities opened up to them as a result of their updated look. Going as far as retrieving banned substances to attempt these procedures, luminous skin is seen as more favorable in classroom textbooks, social media, and even family culture. While many are fighting against this phenomenon, it is a global and booming industry, expected to reach US$31.2 billion by 2024 (according to Gideon Lasco of Sapiens).


A look inside this dark world of lightened faces, with its attempt for social appeal, individual self-worth, or societal benefits can leave us feeling utterly shocked and helpless:

– At its best, these products often do not produce the outward beauty many are looking for.
– At their worst, they produce life-altering, and permanently damaging consequences.
– Little action is currently being taken because there is a strong demand and it would take a miracle to shut down this behind the scenes billion-dollar industry.


Pray for people who are unknowingly being harmed by skin bleaching practices and the greed of those supplying these products. Stand on the sidelines and fight with them—advocate for true inner beauty and confidence that comes from the Lord! Let us also strive for an inner beauty in our personal lives that will last forever and doesn’t cost anything because it was already paid in full by our Creator.

Share this article

Explore more articles

Shopping cart
Start typing to see posts you are looking for.