The History of Body Whitening Cream

The History of Body Whitening Cream

Body Whitening Cream Throughout History

While it seems like the use of body whitening cream has become more popular in recent years, people have been trying to alter the shade of their skin for ages. Skin whitening has also been practised in many different cultures around the world during different periods. This article will explore where and how people have historically used body whitening cream and examine some of the reasons why lighter skin is desirable.

Earliest Body Whitening Creams

The use of body whitening creams can be seen as far back in history as 200 B.C. These earliest documented instances of skin whitening are recorded in ancient Egypt and Greece. This practice spread from Europe to many other world areas in the following centuries.

Why Use Body Whitening Cream?

People around the world use body whitening creams for many different reasons. In Europe, skin lightening products were most commonly used during the Elizabethan era. Many people did this because Queen Elizabeth herself used them, creating the trend. But commonly, lighter skin was considered desirable because of its association with wealth, nobility, purity, and a high-class lifestyle that didn’t require one to work outside in the sun. 

There is also a long history of body whitening cream usage in Asia. Like European cultures, higher classes had the luxury of staying indoors and out of the sun, while servants and working-class individuals typically spent more time outdoors. Because of this, lighter skin was associated with wealth and status, making it very desirable. 

Skin whitening practices were also found in the Americans after Europeans arrived there. In North America, some people continued to follow European beauty trends and use whitening products. In South America, the use of body whitening creams is also heavily connected to colonialism and the spread of European ideas of beauty.

Skin whitening practices became popular in African countries starting in the 20th century. This coincides with the import of European ideas of beauty but is also connected with colonialism and ideas of social mobility.

Use Of Whitening Products Today

Body whitening cream is still very popular in the modern world, though it has decreased in popularity in some cultures. White skin is still a feature of beauty ideals in East Asia, so skin whitening products are commonly used. 

In Europe and the Americas, skin whitening practices have declined significantly. For many of these cultures, light skin is not associated with wealth or status. Rather, the ability to take a holiday abroad or travel to warm beach locations is more desirable, so these cultures prefer tanning and darkening their skin.  

In addition, many movements in the Americas and Africa around anticolonialism and self-love, particularly for people of colour, have led to a decline in the use of whitening products. Instead, people promote natural skin and hair, encouraging people to redefine and broaden beauty standards.