Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Use of skin lightening creams

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 23 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6102

Rapid Response:

Skin Colour and Beauty

Yetunde Olumide's editorial on the use of skin lightening creams highlights their widespread use, and calls for a change in perceptions about beauty. Unfortunately, worrying perceptions about desirable skin colours are pervasive worldwide. In the UK, the ongoing use of sunbeds continues to place users at risk of skin malignancies. The use of fake tanning creams is also widespread and, whilst not harmful to health, reflects an attitude that some skin colours are more attractive than others. It is essential that attitudes are changed worldwide to erradicate the use of skin lightening creams and sunbeds, and to accept that all skin colours are equally attractive.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 February 2011
Emily R. Clarke
doctor, ST2 Core Medical Training
Andover, SP10 3TB