77% in Nigeria for instance bleach at a high risk to their health in order to feel attractive. Many African women who use creams that affect the tone of their complexion routinely mention 'chocolate' as the shade they are aiming for. Indeed a significant portion of their income goes into sustaining this practice. The practice is widespread in Asia as well. Indian activists had taken on a Unilever skin brand for allegedly promoting "skin-lightening" as a way of benefitting from the close-to-$10bn global trade in skin-whitening creams. The numbers of males bleaching is also rising rapidly. Meanwhile northern Europeans are buying ton-loads ($1bn) of skin-tanning creams, and the practice is spreading across Europe, with some serious health consequences too. While many government regulators in the West continue to warn about the health dangers of anti-ageing products.
The search for 'personalisation', the desire to customise for self, the fear of melding into the crowd, of not standing out in some way - these are the key factors racking up sales for the various skin-change solutions. The makers sell you on the ability of their product to unearth some unique potential of your skin, help your deeper beauty emerge, restore the natural vibrancy and vitality of your skin, help assert your individuality, and indeed find for you: a golden niche.