Senegal hasn’t been ruled by France for over half a century, but its former coloniser still sets the tone here. Nowadays, that’s not only true in terms of clothing, but skin colour as well. Senegalese girls want to look like Europeans. Advertisements in magazines and on billboards display light-skinned models, insisting that this is what men like. Pharmacists have come to the rescue of fashion-conscious women. They offer pills and skin-lightening creams, but rarely warn the buyers of the possible catastrophic side effects of using them. These products have long been banned worldwide, but that doesn’t stop Senegalese women bent on flaunting a lighter skin shade.
To see what sacrifices they’re willing to make for the sake of ‘beauty’ and find out more about the dangers of skin whitening, watch Beauty and the Bleach on RTD Documentaries.