Skin-lightening creams are dangerous (key ingredients like hydroquinone have been linked to cancer, while other side effects may include alarmingly thin skin and burns), but that hasn’t stopped millions from using them. That includes Priyanka Chopra, who, in the June issue of Glamour, admits to using the creams when she was young.
In the magazine, Chopra explained what many know already: that in India, for many, dark skin is considered to be less beautiful. Considering herself among the darker-skinned women of India, she began using lightening creams before she reached the age of 15. “I had a lot of self-esteem issues,” she told the glossy. “I was very conscious of the color of my skin.”
A few years down the road, Chopra became wise to the self-image sabotage that the creams enforced, saying: “When I was an actor, around my early 20s, I did a commercial for a skin-lightening cream. I was playing that girl with insecurities. And when I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh shit. What did I do?’ And I started talking about being proud of the way I looked. I actually really like my skin tone.”
It’s hard to believe that Chopra ever thought of herself as less than beautiful, but there you have it.