Document Type



Media is loading

Publication Date



Presentation: 5:47

Poster attached as supplemental file below


Background & Significance: Usage of skin-lightening products is a popular trend in Indian culture. Yet, there is no research on assessing the prevalence, reasoning, and impact of these products on individuals of Indian-descent population over the world. We conducted a rapid review of the already published literature to evaluate the current physical and social impact of skin lightening in the Indian descent population and establish it as a public health issue.

Methods: We used two databases, PubMed, and Scopus, to capture the detrimental health effects and the societal impact caused by these products. Literature used in our rapid review was published between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2019.

Results: Five articles met the eligibility criteria out of the total 136 results. The studies indicated a significant usage of skin-lightening products in individuals of Indian descent, especially in women. A common reason found to induce usage is changing physical appearance of skin by making it visibly fairer. Another reason for usage noted was due to suggestions made from family and friends. It was also reported that the more strongly women from India internalized white ideals, the more likely they were to bleach their skin and that Indian women were willing to endorse the positive effects of skin lightening products.

Conclusion: This review indicates how the widespread usage of these products is a public health issue due to its damaging side effects and impact on individuals with Indian descent. Future research is needed to estimate the real prevalence of these products in the Indian population present in India, in order to combat these harmful practices effectively.