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Motives for skin bleaching among West Africans

*Corresponding author
1. Télé-université (Université du Québec à Montréal), 100 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal (QC), H2X 3P2, Canada
2. Institute of Advanced Studies, Paris, France


The motives underlying the practice of regularskin bleaching among Togolese adults were examined.Eight types of basic motives were evidenced. Fourmotives appeared as clearly dominant. Participantspracticed skin bleaching on a regular basis mainly (a) toappear important, (b) to look attractive, (c) becausethey enjoyed their light coloured skin, and (d) becauseskin bleaching was fashionable. They did not practiceskin bleaching as a demonstration of opposition toAfrican culture or to their relatives or as a demonstrationof compliance with others’ wishes. They also sometimespracticed skin bleaching as a means of securing a job.Implications in terms of health policy are discussed.