There are many reasons why different cultures choose to lighten or whiten their skin. For many cultures skin lightening is steeped in history where only the rich could stay indoors and keep their skin lighter and the poor were outside during the day resulting in a much darker skin. This historical fact lead to many cultures to prefer lighter skin to darker.
For others, lighter skin is associated with a ‘Western’ look which is becoming more and more popular in many places around the world. When associating beauty with the Western look they want to achieve or maintain a lighter colored skin tone.
Still others are simply attempting to correct something they see as a blemish. Dark marks on their skin that appear uneven. They just want their skin to have a more uniform and even look. Whitening the dark areas to better match the rest of their skin is a common option.
Besides this the media has also played a major role in this matter. Almost all actresses, all models in asian subcontinent are fair in complexion.
Of course the most common reason people want to lighten their skin is to be seen as more attractive:
A recent study in 2002 showed that around 77% people in Lagos in Nigeria were using skin lightening products. In another survey it was found that 66% men in HongKong wished their partners were fairer in complexion whereas 50% women wanted their partners to be fairer. The figure rises to 77% males wanting their partners to be white in Malaysia.
So regardless of what culture you are in there are many people that use skin whitening or skin lightening products for a vary wide variety of reasons. Many of them keep the use of these products secret and others are very open about their use. On thing that is assured though is that using skin lightening products will continue to be popular around the world for many years to come.