According to a Kaya FM feature, one in three South Africans has tried bleaching their skin in one way or another. Put into context by Breakfast with David host, David O'Sullivan, that's a whopping 35% of the population.
While celebrities such as Khanyi Mbau, Mshoza and Sorisha Naidoo have been very open about their choice to undergo the procedure, a number of other celebrities have decided to go this route without sharing this information with the public.
Despite their lack of honesty, fans see the change and covet it - no matter what is at stake. But without the same budget as the stars they look up to, they often opt for the cheaper, more widely available options found in various stores, in town, and at public areas such as taxi ranks and train stations.
However, these unregulated (and sometimes illegal) products can lead to harmful side effects such as thinning of the skin, cancer as well as kidney, liver or nerve damage.
Various documentaries, articles, news inserts, films and TV shows have sought to better understand the issue which has been thought to have roots in colourism - which is quite simply defined as discrimination based on skin colour. It is also less commonly referred to as shadeism, a form of prejudice or discrimination in which people are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin colour.
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Main image credit: instagram.com/mbaureloaded