‘I wanted to be brown’ - Young man regrets bleaching

March 18, 2019
Some of the sores that came up on Kevin’s arm.
Some of the sores that came up on Kevin’s arm.

Kevin* was an impressionable teenager when he started bleaching his skin. But 13 years later, the scars on his face, arms and neck are a testament of his regret.

"I started bleaching when I was 16 years old. Honestly, I had a friend who started doing it, they were older guys than mi and I liked it, so I started doing it too. I wanted to be brown," he said.

Kevin said he would use a mixture of a variety of creams and gels to get his body to shed its dark skin. These creams would cost him up to $12,000 every month. But when he started seeing bumps on his skin in January, he went to the doctor; that cost him even more.


"I started seeing some small bumps at first, but after a few days they started getting bigger, and started looking like sores, on my face, my neck and on my hand. So I went to the doctor, and she run a test, and she said it's because of the creams, he said. "So she gi mi injection, antibiotics, and two things to rub on my skin. And it cost me a lot, over $20,000."

He said that the treatment has been working.

Kevin admits that he saw the effects of bleaching on his skin five years ago. But he went to the doctor and got treatment, he started bleaching again shortly after.

But this time he said it would be different.

"Honestly, mi nuh wah see mi skin look like this again. Mi back to mi normal colour, I'm a bit darker, but as time go on, I will be back to my normal colour," he said.

He said it's easier to continue along this path because of the support he's been receiving from family.

"Mi mother happy, an mi girlfriend happy seh mi stop. They always saying it a damage mi skin," he said

But Kevin said he's the one who's truly happy.

"For me, it's a good thing because I now know the dangers of the chemicals, I've been through it. Now that I experience what it do to my skin, no more bleaching to my skin," he said.

*name changed on request

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