Why People Risk Their Lives To Bleach Their Skin | Shady | Refinery29

  • Published on May 25, 2019
  • On this episode of Shady, our host, Lexy Lebsack travels to the Philippines to uncover the toxic reality of skin bleaching. This cultural trend is practicing world wide even with deadly side effects. Watch this week's Shady to understand the truth about skin bleaching!
    Shady is the side of the beauty world you haven't seen. Hosted by Refinery29 Senior Beauty Editor, Lexy Lebsack, the series swivels between the unexpected and uplifting, dives deep into the dark underbelly of beauty, gives a voice to those trampled by this quickly growing industry, and questions what it’s all worth. From counterfeit makeup to skin trafficking for cosmetic procedures, we go there.
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Comments • 13 149

  • Refinery29
    Refinery29  Month ago +4108

    Have you ever heard of skin bleaching products before? Share your opinions on what the use of these products really means.

    • Lee
      Lee Day ago

      It is super common in Indonesia to get unsupervised vitamin C injection to lighten up the skin

    • Dream _er
      Dream _er Day ago +1

      Felicity Skye like they’re Filipino they’re naturally dark and so is most of their population so I don’t see where they got the idea of white skin being beautiful. I think women are beautiful in all colors their own natural color.

    • angam nagam
      angam nagam 2 days ago

      I wish if my skin is light color what can I do what should I buy

    • Felicity Skye
      Felicity Skye 2 days ago +1

      I have heard of it and to me this is so sad, and i wish that women wouldn't do this to there skin, with the fact that they could be hurting themselves but they should realize that they are already beautiful. Thank you so much for bringing attention to this and so glad that Tony was able to do what he did

    • Danica Eri
      Danica Eri 2 days ago

      I'm not using any whitening products. I don't like to have skin cancer someday. I'm a Filipina and I'm proud of my color 😀

  • pauline
    pauline 40 minutes ago +1

    7:02 peekaboo i see you.

  • Mayce Sispon
    Mayce Sispon 53 minutes ago

    This is so true... I am from the Philippines and this is really what's happening. People are treating people with white skin to be more beautiful and powerful as we say. This sucks... Beacuse it's like we don't care any more about our natural culture

  • Denise
    Denise Hour ago

    I wish someone mentioned the fact that Filipinos legit make you the butt of jokes if your skin is dark... Like actually very dark. I had a classmate in elementary who everyone nicknamed "King Kong" because of his skin. Even teachers kinda pitched in and nobody saw how awful that was.

    KIM NAMJOONIE 2 hours ago

    I am a Filipina amd my skin is white and my classmates always praised me for being white..

  • V Paz
    V Paz 4 hours ago

    God made you this color for a reason

  • roxanneworld11
    roxanneworld11 4 hours ago

    yeah, good luck with that.
    i mean, it's a wonderful effort but, *please:*
    because, as long as people in key and/or strategic positions - in government, customs and at the actual shipyards - as long as they're being *bribed,* and in one of the most impoverished island(s) nations on the planet, those dangerous, mercury infused products aren't going to be removed from the market..not any time soon, anyway. 🙄

  • Gary Puppet
    Gary Puppet 4 hours ago

    Ridiculous. I am usually trying not look so pale.

  • femaleforester
    femaleforester 5 hours ago

    11:10 I love her skin tone 😍

  • Elizabeth Saji
    Elizabeth Saji 5 hours ago

    0:58 that lady on the right.. lmfao

  • 我祈祷Lxle
    我祈祷Lxle 6 hours ago

    How can I find out that fir example my everyday skin cream does contain toxic mercury or not

  • Tokki
    Tokki 7 hours ago

    Really, A CHILD?!

  • Amanda04
    Amanda04 8 hours ago +1

    I admit I used to buy lightening soaps and lotions in the market when I was younger but when I reached 30 I don't give a damn anymore I'm more focused on anti-aging creams and just being hydrated and moisturized. I have medium-lighter skin and what most of these people want to achieve is having a porcelain-like skin and not a pale-white skin like the reporter😄 also kids who have dark skin were being bullied at school in my younger years and have been calling them names like negra

  • Michelle Gomez
    Michelle Gomez 8 hours ago

    In different parts of Asia it’s believed the lighter your skin the wealthier you are because you don’t expose yourself to the sun because you have servants doing errands for you and you are also considered more beautiful

    VISHNU VARDHAN 10 hours ago

    😂😂😂day by day people have become puppets and psychos

  • Christine Jean Demegillo

    As white people expend money on tanning products as people are not contented aLL the same

  • worldwide handsome
    worldwide handsome 11 hours ago

    Btw i live at that country but its okay my skin is light and its natural

  • Benjamin Jackle
    Benjamin Jackle 12 hours ago

    I'm pinoy, and yeah you are treated differently by different shades you are. But I'm just still brown as hell and proud of it.

  • Sarah Lim
    Sarah Lim 12 hours ago +2

    American do tanning
    Filipinos do whitening
    I dont care about my skin ..as long im healthy enough and dont have skin problem and allergy

  • MDhaniaa
    MDhaniaa 18 hours ago

    Same here in Indonesia.. But luckily, we have Bali.. The summer destination.. The impression of dark glowing skin is away sexier.. It's Proven by a lot of foreign tourists from eur/usa/au married Indonesian women with dark skin rather than white skin

  • Stefanie Medina
    Stefanie Medina 18 hours ago +1

    The skin bleaching is a huge problem. My husband is Filipino. When we go to the PH, random strangers always tell me my skin is so beautiful and white. In reality, I want to have tan olive skin like them! We are never happy with what we have.

  • greveeen
    greveeen 20 hours ago

    This is truly disgusting, imperial countries still control them

  • PogoCoco
    PogoCoco 20 hours ago +1

    That lady at 2:12 has a screwed up face herself...how can she even sell her business?

  • Abdullah Omar
    Abdullah Omar 20 hours ago

    Here in Saudi Arabia we don’t focus on the skin color but, we like the skin to be healthy. So here we spent lots lots of money on skin products but not on bleaching products.

  • Phiany Ni
    Phiany Ni 20 hours ago +1

    Damn then snow white must be gorgeous or like a celebrity to them lmao

  • venus samady
    venus samady 20 hours ago

    So cool !
    I lived in Philippines for almost four years and those creams were all over the stores but I don't care because IT'S MORE FUN IN PHILIPPINES

  • isbsey
    isbsey 21 hour ago

    So, people in countries where the natural skin colour is, tanned to dark, like The Philippines or countries in Africa, are chancing skin cancer by bleaching their skin and people in countries where the natural skin colour is fair to white, like the UK and Germany, are risking skin cancer by using sun beds and having tanning injections. The human soul is never at peace. The grass is always greener - or maybe these days we even want red grass!!?? We don't seem to mind ravaging our planet to get what we want never mind our own bodies.

  • Raynne
    Raynne 21 hour ago

    Well, now I regret bleaching my skin.
    I only became one shade lighter but I was already pretty fair. I think I look like a marshmallow now lol.
    Korean beauty standards are shit, man. And I’m a guy like wtf-
    Whitening (whether it be white-washing or bleaching) your skin is common in guys too, btw.

  • Alysha Miranda
    Alysha Miranda 21 hour ago

    Skin color is a...unique problem. People from all around the globe has different perspective of it; yet it actually doesn't mean a thing to our own self. It's just to 'fit in' a fake society... If only people are more confident in their own self rather than with all these 'concepts' of beauty... 😟

  • Mercedes
    Mercedes 21 hour ago

    The only logical reason I’d see bleaching skin would be used for is to diminish acne scars/dark spots

  • Yeet Bree
    Yeet Bree 21 hour ago

    They want to get lighter I wish I was darker

    • Rosemary Seifert
      Rosemary Seifert 15 hours ago

      Yeet Bree ID like to be a few shades darker for health reasons. The sun can be a killer for very light skin..

  • Lavell Ketsumeishi
    Lavell Ketsumeishi 23 hours ago

    Philippines are racist

  • Em Inem
    Em Inem 23 hours ago

    I'm over here. porcelain skin, very white milky skin.. a fuckin VAMPIRE. with people saying "hmm you should tan" "you need to get some sun" "you'd look so good with a tan"

  • Michelle Molina
    Michelle Molina 23 hours ago

    White supremacy really has impacted the world in such a bad way that most people in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Middle East don’t love themselves bc of centuries of colonization I’m half Ecuadorian and Colombian and my mom is Colombian but she’s on the lighter side bc of Spanish ancestry tbh Im not really proud of having European ancestry bc us Hispanics were a result of rape (European/Native/African)

  • Kay Vee
    Kay Vee 23 hours ago +1

    This reporter with her dark brows .....should do a doc on why white women bleach their hair ? but god forbid if we start taking about their dirty laundry as if people of color are the only ones with insecurity and suffering from society’s false standard of beauty

  • Helena Yesa D. Cabiad
    Helena Yesa D. Cabiad 23 hours ago

    "Its 42 000."
    *yeets backwards*

  • Leeth24
    Leeth24 Day ago

    That lady in the back picking her butt 😂😂🤦🏻‍♀️💀

  • Rhanie Lopez
    Rhanie Lopez Day ago

    I was born and live here in the philipines and skin whitening is what most filipinas really doing for beauty purposes but even im a filipina i'm proud that my skin is tanned and not white because being tanned is what really filipino's color is and i'm proud of it but we can't stop them beacause that's what they want and but still I'm proud that i'm a pure blooded filipino

  • Dr_ Magìc
    Dr_ Magìc Day ago


  • Phoebe xxi
    Phoebe xxi Day ago +2

    Isn't it ironic how white people document how Filipinos try to change their skin color as if we don't know how almost every white people in america try to darken/change their color too🤷

  • JrChefAlexR
    JrChefAlexR Day ago

    Wow, I can’t believe this! I’m glad with who I am! God made me this way and I love my melanin! ❤️🙏🏿

  • Maimaruths
    Maimaruths Day ago

    Uhm can we make the word "morena" famous? Its like black beauty and pls as long as you look at yourself as maganda or beautiful weather u are dark or not people will treat u pretty and love u the way u are... And if u cant stop wanting to be another skin tone then pls do it in a natural way.. Pls let us reise awareness about this if there ever is pls tell me i would like to contribute and spread awareness about this

  • Maimaruths
    Maimaruths Day ago +4

    This is because of western influence and false beauty myths

  • Maimaruths
    Maimaruths Day ago

    Yan tayo eh

  • Alondra Barco
    Alondra Barco Day ago +1

    I have been bullied because i am tan I don't get because we are all beautiful just the we are

  • Cynthia Beaudry
    Cynthia Beaudry Day ago

    They send the whitest palest journalist to go interview. Like eat your heart out. Be jelly. 🤣 Messed up.

    • S. M.
      S. M. 6 hours ago

      Cynthia Beaudry 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Cynthia Beaudry
      Cynthia Beaudry 22 hours ago

      @S. M. Oh yeah. 😘

    • S. M.
      S. M. Day ago

      Cynthia Beaudry. Oh, I get it, you don’t know what irony is. It’s not like she’s trying to get real tan or anything...

    • Cynthia Beaudry
      Cynthia Beaudry Day ago

      @S. M. it's called irony 😘

    • S. M.
      S. M. Day ago

      What’s the problem? She’s just doing her job, and doing good at it.

  • Indecisive Explorer

    Growing up with pale skin made people ask me if I was sick all the time. And then in the summer when you show your bright white legs people make jokes about the glare from the sun coming off of them. I always hated that I never seemed to be able to tan. Strange.

  • Hannah Seay
    Hannah Seay Day ago

    why even do this kind of matter to your skin, its dangerous..

  • Mia Vale
    Mia Vale Day ago

    What do they mean when they say birth effects ??? They make u preggo or wat?

  • A Small loan Of a Million Dollars

    See kids, this is the effect of extreme right wing ideology in a country. Death penalties for drug smuggling, while letting this types of white washing shit slide out in the open. But thank god theres no "sjw pc propaganda " around , isn't it?

  • Ganhiwa
    Ganhiwa Day ago +1

    They should be having campaigns informing students at high school about merchury, what it does to the body and why they should avoid it. If they then still choose to use this, at least they do so with full knowledge of what they are doing to themselves.

  • Dagmay Bereket
    Dagmay Bereket Day ago


  • Stanlee Lee
    Stanlee Lee Day ago +1

    And every one in the west wants to get a tan 😂

  • Yellow Mellow
    Yellow Mellow Day ago +1

    I really hate when people wanna be white like what the heck

    • pocky
      pocky Day ago

      Yellow Mellow Same as being tan.

  • Thisisit chief
    Thisisit chief Day ago +1

    Come to America the trend here is to be tan ! :)) 🤪💛

  • miyuki Mercado
    miyuki Mercado Day ago

    people here is whining about their white skin to be tan
    obviously your not bullied for being tan skin than others di nyo kasi nararanasan makutsa ng ibang tao bahala na kayong mag translate nahihirapan nako mag english hahahha

  • Mari Aeres
    Mari Aeres Day ago +6

    I mean, yes: in the Western society everyone white wants to be tan, but they still treat people of colour as poor and uneducated. Young me would've bleached her skin if she could, just to diminish the prejudice.
    Glad to see all the melanin love on social media nowadays, hope future generations grow up confident in their skin.

  • Rita Alex
    Rita Alex Day ago

    Cut your hair, lose weight, use braces, even do plastic surgery if it makes you feel better. But your skin tone is the one thing you have almost no control in. It doesn't define your beauty or worth! It is your skin, a very important organ of your body, not a cosmetic aspect!

  • weconday murray
    weconday murray Day ago +3

    Darwinism....... people rather be light skinned than healthy/alive.

  • Kreolee Jackson
    Kreolee Jackson Day ago

    i am so glad not to indluge myself with these whitening products. they are not cheap and i am not willing to take the risk. i have golden brown skin and i love it. i can go out in the sun,, enjoy it and whats more? my hubby loves it.

  • oddessa endeavour

    I like my fair skin and would hate to get tanned from the sun, but I don't like people telling me how fair i am like it's such a blessing. now i wonder if i'm actually brainwashed by society

  • Yeba S.
    Yeba S. Day ago +1

    just why?

  • Jamie Lynn
    Jamie Lynn Day ago

    And yet here in the US people give themselves skin cancer from tanning booths to get darker. White people want to be darker, darker people want to be lighter and at the heart of it is greedy manipulative people right there to sell them something to do it. Terrible.

  • Imansbxo Bashir
    Imansbxo Bashir Day ago

    What’s wrong with white ppl loool let me make a documentary about why these ppl tan

  • GoldRatio
    GoldRatio Day ago

    9:47 this dude living in 2005 with those pants being that low

  • Jo Nana
    Jo Nana Day ago

    I lived in the phillipines for some months and being a dark girl, man i got it worse. I enter a 7/11 shop to purchase an item and people burst out laughing. I cant make it down the street without people pointing and laughing. I developed a great sense of low self esteem. When my boyfriend who is white visited me there, we went to the mall the other time and i had to leave to use the bathroom and the man next table made a comment to my boyfriend, she is pretty but black. That was the end of my stay in phillipines.Whew, i am not suprised at all. Colorism is deeply rooted in their tradition and society.The lighter your skin the better you are treated. So sad.

  • Apophis The Snake
    Apophis The Snake 2 days ago

    I don't understand this, racism comes from white people with a superiority complex, thinking they're the best "Race" it's not just the skin colour though, there's a physical difference. So even bleaching your skin doesn't really guarantee... Well, anything, be comfortable in who YOU are. And definitely, don't be trying dangerous skin bleaching crap.

  • Ashley Butler
    Ashley Butler 2 days ago

    I've seen this in China as well and it is sad because we are all beautiful in our own skin I love the Asian culture and respect there traditional ways I just wish we didn't feel the need to change how we look on the outside and focus loving us from the inside if you ar3 a good person that makes you beautiful how you treat others is the way to show true beauty.

  • aphrodite argyropoulou
    aphrodite argyropoulou 2 days ago +6

    Looking at this dermatologist's face that can barely move because of the botox, gave me goosebumps. She doesn't look like someone I would trust to touch my skin. Sorry.

  • Masum Ahmed
    Masum Ahmed 2 days ago

    10:26 What was that? give it to me...

  • wakulu riel
    wakulu riel 2 days ago

    Nakakahiya kyo mga pinay na trying hard magpaputi its not feeling good about yourslf it is more likely ashamed of yourself magkakamuka na kyo deep inside morena pa din kyo. Daming nagpapatanned kasi inggit sila sa skin ntin. Kakahiya kayo. Hindi kami ngagandahan sa inyo. Love yourself in the first place not changing yourself to be loved hndi kyo maganda haha! muka kayong multo haha!

  • Jade Cheung
    Jade Cheung 2 days ago

    0:56 the lady touching her butt crack lmaoo omg

  • Prateek Gautam
    Prateek Gautam 2 days ago

    Lexy u are so beautiful

  • Manu Kk Kvk
    Manu Kk Kvk 2 days ago +3

    every skin colour is perfect when it seems with a beautiful smile ..😊😊😊love your self and cheer up

  • Ruth Velasco
    Ruth Velasco 2 days ago +1


  • Jenny Cellie
    Jenny Cellie 2 days ago

    This sucks people don’t like their skin for how it is. And it also sucks how in The United States if your pale and not tan your” ugly” and same goes for the other country’s if your darker. The whole world needs to say it’s ok to be whatever skin tone.

  • Jinx Jink
    Jinx Jink 2 days ago +1

    9:55: over 200 THOUSAND followers ... THOUSAND! Worth dying for??? I think not.

  • Kamila M.
    Kamila M. 2 days ago

    This is sad. Meanwhile my pale ass wishes I was more tanned :/

  • Agin Bayu
    Agin Bayu 2 days ago

    Not only in philipines, here in Indonesia too.
    man feel the same

  • Dan Dan Ganapin
    Dan Dan Ganapin 2 days ago +1

    Dr. Vicky Belo is very popular here in Philippines. 🇵🇭 And whiten8ngbis big deal here

  • Dan Dan Ganapin
    Dan Dan Ganapin 2 days ago +1

    I am filipino and I Tried it 1 time😢
    Now I learned to accept my true Skin color.

  • sharna chowdhury
    sharna chowdhury 2 days ago

    In our country, Bangladesh,,this type products are available and all the women are obsessed to make more clear ,fairer skin at any cost.Even though, in case marriage,both men and women like to choose whiter person as their partner rather than think about other qualifications.Girls must make their skin whiter, otherwise all people ignore them.

  • Gracious grace
    Gracious grace 2 days ago

    Its like tanning in western countries.You will do everything to get that tan skin same here in Asia but to whiten our skin

  • Dorian Jackson
    Dorian Jackson 2 days ago

    That's crazy a lot of darker peeps have more flowers than her lol

  • pumpkin pie
    pumpkin pie 2 days ago

    What about whitening toothpaste?

  • Roxy
    Roxy 2 days ago

    This is really sad to me. I feel like all skin colors are so beautiful, I hate that someone could feel so pressured to be ‘prettier’ that they would risk their lives. Everyone is beautiful♥️

  • Wildchild_inc
    Wildchild_inc 2 days ago

    Kiss my pinoy tan brow booty

  • AztecChahtahTX
    AztecChahtahTX 2 days ago

    Enjoy your easy melanoma dumb dumbs

  • Jason Yau
    Jason Yau 2 days ago

    I personally use a product with citric acid aka vitamin c and it helps to reduce the production of melanin.

  • Angelique rules!
    Angelique rules! 2 days ago

    And I just got a tan..

  • Angelique rules!
    Angelique rules! 2 days ago

    And I just got a tan..

  • Angelique rules!
    Angelique rules! 2 days ago

    **Snow white intensifies**

  • Yaya Hernandez
    Yaya Hernandez 2 days ago

    Tumeric w/ Yogurt, Lemon...A shower.

  • aHhH NoOo NoO nOoO NoooOo

    This is actually very sad. I am from the Philippines. A country where being fair white skin equals to being beautiful. I was was born with morena skin but growing up i was always ashamed of my own skin BECAUSE EVERYONE MADE FUN OF ME. I was constantly told how I should use glutathione and papaya soaps to whiten my skin and that I’d be prettier with fair skin. I would also be discriminated and categorized as poor just because I was morena. But, as I grow older I learned to embrace this skin. Looking back, I would love to tell my teenage self how fcking lovely authentic morena skin looks like.

  • Lol Lol
    Lol Lol 2 days ago

    In 6th grade I used to get made fun of for being dark by racist kids , I tried bleaching my skin and I still have scars , 2 years and some self love later I’ve come to learn to love myself and my beautiful dark skin color , I wish this trend would stop :( , every color is beautiful and unique, to all my other dark girls out there you’re beautiful, please don’t do this

  • Ricky Luo
    Ricky Luo 2 days ago

    For most of the Asian ladies, brighter/lighter skin color(not white color) is one of the goals they pursue. Why are women pursuing white color? They got influenced by the western media industry. They are believing in that bullshit and telling themselves white color is beautiful, white color is perfection, white color is gorgeous. I call this Cultural invasion/Value assimilation. Hollywood plays a big role in this mental colonization. They spread American values, spread the political correctness, spread western culture and heroism to the world. They psychological suggest audiences that America is great, strong, justice and the world saver. (That's what I was thinking in my childhood in China but I realized it's not true after immigrated to Canada and touched the western world.) Btw, I love Canada..except Justin Trudeau...

  • lalalarebecca23
    lalalarebecca23 2 days ago

    These women trying to be whiter while the rest of the world mainly the UK thinks it looks good to be boarder line ompa

  • Cristina Curiel
    Cristina Curiel 2 days ago

    No is way I wanna bleach my skin I love my light Carmel skin

  • Hello There
    Hello There 2 days ago

    Melanin is your friend