The Philippines is one of the biggest markets in the world for skin whitening, and we have the plethora of products and treatments to prove it. The fact that all of it is readily available speaks for itself, too—just about anyone can pursue fairer skin. But how far are people actually willing to go to look lighter? The answer is probably not what you'd expect.
In a documentary by Refinery29, Lexy Lebsack travels to Manila to find out more about our country's skin whitening industry. She interviews beauty expert Dr. Vicki Belo about the available treaments at the Belo Medical Group, as well as an influencer who attributes her fame to her fair skin.
In addition, Lexy also goes into the field with the Ecowaste Coalition to crack down on the dangerous side of the industry—the poisonous, mercury-filled bleaching products that are being sold to Filipinos nationwide. The video shows creams containing mercury than the one part per million that's legally permitted in the country, including one that surpasses that by 42,000 percent. The scariest part? These are allegedly being smuggled in so people are able to buy such products in corner drugstores for a low price, unaware of the health risk.
Watch the documentary below to see more:
Read the Ecowaste Coalition's reports on mercury-laden products here.