Skin Bleaching in Bollywood

Many of our Bollywood actresses seem to have gone for skin bleaching treatments to look fair.
Rekha. She very dusky before in the 80's but now as she is getting older, i notice how her skin is so much lighter than is used to be. How come? Bleaching?!


Sridevi was also very dusky before. Recently, ( and especially in her tv show Malini Iyer, she looked so fair that i could not believe it was her. How did this change happen all of a sudden? Bleaching!



Shilpa Shetty is also another actress who seems to have gotten her skin bleached.

What do you think?


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I am brown skinned woman. I grew up in a place where people with really dark siin were comfortable in their skins and light skinned people could co-exist with them. Yes that place is karnataka. I have never used fair and lovely ever. When I was a teen I used to put vicco turmeric cream or a plain moisturiser. I never looked dazzling like a beauty queen but I have the healthiest skin ever. I can enjoy long bicycle rides and look good in minimal makeup at wedding parties. 99% of my youthful energy was focused on getting a good education, learning useful lfe skills like cooking, arts and crafts, stictching, nursing, tutoring, charity work during my spare time. I have had fun too. I have travelled a lot, enjoyed photography and married the most loving man. I have two great children.
Once a woman learns to earn self-respect from an internal makeover, the bollywood fairness myth will eat itself.
Gones are the days when a few transplants from punjab area dictated the standards of beauty

There 2 types of bleack; one where it is used to lighten dark hair and the other is used to lighten skin!

Add shahrukh khan,priyanka chopra,bipasha basu

you can add deepika on the list !!!

shilpa has done a lot more than just skin whitening

why not also analyse male actors' skin colour? Like SRK, Abhishek, etc.

shilpa has definitely done

Everyone tans and then it fades. I don't see any difference in Sridevi or Shilpa.
Only certain actresses like Rekha, Bipasha Basu, Amrita Arora have significantly lighter skin tones now, they have done something.

sri was pretty light since her child days, and she looks light when makeup of, not sure why her name is attatched, though skin bleachin rumour first started with mahuri dixit.

I have friends who bleach their face because they have dark facial hair and honestly none of them look that much lighter or anything...the hair just looks blonde. It's make-up and lighting

First of all... It's the lighting and makeup.
Nobody is satisfied with their body!! Every normal being (including "stars") enhance their body to look good in their everyday lives. Whether it is threading, waxing, shaving, piercings, makeup, Botox, the attire, etc. We destruct ourselves to look a certain way. Then why??? do we judge others if we can't judge ourselves first.
Who cares... If they did get their skin bleached!!! It's their self being.. Who are we to judge!!?

omg its makeup and camera flashing!!!! hello everything is so advanced now compared to the 70s and 80s.... better makeup for flawless skin and extremly high tech camera to capture it.. some ppl really need to get a life and leave celebs alone if u have such a problem then dont watch their movies DUH that simple

Its not skin bleaching. Its called MAKEUP, LIGHTING, PHOTOSHOP. Does anyone here understand science and why you cannot bleach your face?

Are you stupid? You can't define Arabs as being 'white' Arabs come in all shades of color: White, olive, brown, black. In fact, Arabs do prefer 'white' skin...c'mon look at the media they portray. Have you seen their movies and commercial ads? Everyone is white and it doesn't give a fair portrayal of ALL Arab people. I do agree though, people need to get over themselves and appreciate the color that God has given them. It's horrible to think that this idiotic mentality still persists, and these pathetic ads need to be stopped. It's the 21st century, get over yourselves.

why so much hate on ash pc and madhuri?
U dont like actresses u have become succesfull on their own?
Pathetic jealous haters.
And Priyanka never did any bleaching. Look at her in Dostana and Hero. She looks the same dusky colour.
Ofcourse she applies makeup, but she hasnt done bleaching.
Neither has Ash or Madhuri done it.

where is pc

Hey you missed Aish, priyanka PC, Madhuri (ek do teen-tezaab), and the list goes on!

Not all indians are dark! Come to the UK and see the british born indians whose parents are both indian. Their kids are still fair skinned. Obviously not white skin but fair enough.

You can't assume that just because people in india are dark then all indians around the world are dark!

Please add Ash.. LoL , Kumar.. as much as you want to hide the fact, that Ash was dark, everyone knows it.... by hiding it, you are only making it more worse..

@Kumar.....u forgot aishwarya rai :) idk why indians r ignoring the fact that aish was darker before and that she uses botox...

I think it's sick for brown people to bleach their skin to try to look "fairer" when in reality you will almost NEVER find an Indian with very light skin unless mixed. I am Arab and although we are mostly white (some of us are a little bit tanned), our society shows the MAJORITY in media and TV, which are the white skinned people. No bleaches or creams, it is all au natural. I wish Indians could embrace the natural dark color they have that I think looks beautiful with their features. And no offense, but none of those Indians are fair if compared to a European or Middle Eastern or sometimes (not always) an Oriental Asian.

can anyone recommend a safe bleaching pill that works for a 20yr old

hey guys
where can we get this pill treaetments to get fairer

actress sridevi is lukng she wz nt dat mch fair.shez frm a family of tamil nadu.shez nt a brahmin origin.dat is 100% sm movies shez lukn fair.dat mght bcz f d reason dat she hv dn bleach.

actress sridevi is lukng b4 she wz nt dat mch fair.shez frm a family f tamilnadu.shez nt a brahmin women.dat iz 100% sure.nw a dayz i tink shez lkng mr nyc dan b4.

can i have the contact no. & address of skin bleaching done by Rekha & Sridevi

Sri devi was most darkest lady among all. who dumb believe she has fair complextion. did anyone see her in real life before. she was dark like hell....

Uh... Shilpa Shetty bleached her moustache hair on Celebrity Big Brother UK, not her skin. And I doubt these actresses bleached their skin as it doesn't work... they wear a hundred pounds of makeup and use extreme lighting in films. Look at how different Bipasha Basu and Priyanka Chopra look outside of films in candids taken by fans. It's a HUGE difference.

if it is right...will be with aishwariya too

Shilpa Shetty openly bleacehd on big brother!! And she vene went and asked Jade Goody and Danielle if they wanted some...crazy or what??? ha ha

I dont believe this article. It is my right!

Sridevi's 'before' picture is from a night shot from Khuda Gawah. Pretty dumb if one wants to say that she used to be dark with that one!

Watch Sridevi's Julie or her films as a child. She was always very fair.

Of course they are bleaching themselves.Even fair Aish does the same...but do you know what bleaching means??It means you get the pills treatment to stop melanin in your body.This is very unhealthy because it could cause skin's worse even than sun tanning.It's a chemical method to white your skin.Don't do it!! If you see someone who's dark outside movies and white inside movies that means there was a make up job.Most of you don't know that beside facial make up there's also a body make up.And actors and singer on their performances and movies and video clips always use body and facial make up.But if you see stars who was born with dark skin and then you see them white all the time that means they use chemical pills to get the result.I wonder do they know how dangerous it is??

If anything blame society and culture not the actresses.

The actresses are just sheep following standards set by all of your opinions (society = average everyday people and their opinions). If all the people in India including the media could change their opinions on skin tone and just accept and de-stigmatize varying shades of skin tone obviously no one would do this.

Tanning is natural (It's from the Sun and as a bonus you get Vitamin D), Bleaching is not (Chemicals and enzymes that kill off cells)

Honestly, i think it will take society (Indians) 100 - 500+ years to destigmatize skin colour on their own, as no one is going to legislate against the products (they rake in billions of dollars a year). There are subtle changes happening in society now, but i think it will be a very very long long time till anything dramatic happens.

So start the change and stop discriminating against your own people now - you represent society.


Honestly i think the actresses look equally attractive in both images. There is no difference to me except for age.

nope nope. In order for this feature to be fair(pun intended) must include every Bollywood actress because they are all guilty of lightening their skin except Katrina, who is mostly white and darkens it.

i think sridevi and shilpa have done it the most however. they should watch that their teeth and nails don't rot off because that's what hydroquinone does

a lot of people get lighter as they age because they are out in the sun less.

the pics ur comparing are all of diff qualities.. they all are still the same.. they havent done anythng lyk Michael Jackson.. pleaseeeeeee :D

Oh Shilpa...your natural nose was so much better...

Actually none of these stars have bleached too much or even bleached at all why!? Sridevi was always light skinned you probably found the picture posted above as "before" where the scene was shot at night and not with a good camera. Karishma is white and pale but do you remember how dark she was made to look in Rakshak? bad camera and some tanning so light skinned people can sometimes look dark but Sridevi was never dark she has always been fair even though she got a nose job. Shilpa was dark and is still dark the picture you posted as "after" is shot in massive light and over the years staying in AC inside without much exposure like poor or middle class women do a lot of dark skinned girls can become brighter in complexion. There is not much difference in Shilpas complexion. Rekha well she was not too dark nor too light and maybe she bleached a bit. Rai is not on the list even though she probably bleached the most why!? Yeah she probably get tan like most desi do even the fair ones get tanned pretty quickly BUT have you seen her pictures from back in Devdas days with SRK standing next to him she's only a shade lighter than him and looks pretty dark, before she made it to Ms. World I saw ads where looked pretty dark and even some professional shoots where she looked really dark. I'm posting some pictures here.

Devdas Times

Yes she has nice features but to be honest she's not someone who can pull off dark skin she never looks good to me when she's dark which is why I never liked her because the first time I saw her in an ad before Ms. World she looked horrible. She has very nice features but they're only apparent when she's light or fair like golden or fairer and I also didn't like her back in the days because her face was wider and more round than it has become in the recent years. Rai has worked a lot on herself and it's scary how near perfect she looks now. Please don't say she's still brown because she's not maybe she gets tanned and than bleaches herself again or the bleaching wears off because in the past 4-5 years I have not seen a single photo at any event where she looked even near dark she always looks light or perfect gold shade and before she was dark dark now the most she looks is TANNED like a gold TANNED shade. I'm a fair desi so I know that a fair person can never get dark like the way she looked before a fair person gets dark but gets gold or orange when they get darker. It's much different. The changes have been a bit gradual on her but I hate how she goes "the girl should be confident with her skin, I would never endorse a lightening product" yeah no one likes to say they changed their skin color there's nothing wrong with it either if its just to make yourself better or more prettier BUT do not criticize others who choose to do so like she did on a major American talk show.

Fri, 2010-12-10 15:50 — Anonymous
It's in the head but Indians have a way of making dark skinned people feel miserable regardless of age and education/

@ Anon Mon, 2010-04-05 23:08

No need to lose confidence 'cos you've dark skin color. Instead of wishing for something that's not possible ,take care of your skin and you can look as good as anyone else.
It's all in the head, if you feel good about will others...Take care !!

Wed, 2010-08-18 09:34 — Anonymous
If you think Rekha was not dark then there are less than twenty four hours in a day. :-)

where's the queen of this, ash?

i don't see the big deal , its not bad , its just like getting a tan, its alright to get a tan but bad to blech ur skin??
also those pics u forgot to mention photoshop n loads of makeup

I have seen Madhuri pre and after fame, she hails from a Marathi Brahmin family who are genrally white skin with blue eyes n she is fair too. For Shilpa she is not dark..these r her childhood photos which are careless n innocent, she has a ultra fair mom n she is pretty too..for Rekha I dont think she was ever dark n for Shridevi again no dark skinb efore..she bcame 'fair' with loads of makeup for sure

Okay its not skin bleaching..its 24 hrs AC, good food, exercise, no pollution, makeup n money. All these things combine can change ur appearance. I dont think any of the ladies shown here were 'dark'. They all were clean skined n with better products n luxury u tend to become better. Simple example is if u r in India and loved in US, in few yrs on a cold place u will become 'clear' skin too

Kumar I hope she care about you same way as you!

i hav a low confidence cz im dark..i wish 2 b fair ;(

oh guys you are so sick
come on havent u noticed that it is all about ligth and flash(camera)and if they do use cosmetic producs so wath
they use to get rith of the coments oh she is so dark

this post had to come from a Madhuri fan. How coolely they left her put of bleaching squad when she heads it. Not sure about the others, it cou;d be good diet, some skin care, good creams but Madhuri bleaching was a talk of the town in her days

Obviously these actresses would bleach, but today's it girls don't seem to. Look at Piggy Chops and Deepika. They seem to still be darker(even though they are endorsing bleachers.) There's also Mugdha Godse and Chitrangada Singh who are dark and embrace it. To be honest, the whole "fairness" thing is getting boring. Tanned girls look more exotic and not as gross and pasty onstage or in fashionable clothes.

Shilpa Shetty, no doubt. But Rekha? More flash perhaps, but she really looks the same skin color. Remember than sunscreens only came into vogue in the last 20 years. Sridevi, same thing. In any case, they were never dark.

The actresses here don't seem to have a color that has changed dramatically. They probably just use the natural creams like Tonique or Meladerm.

I think it's also a combination of makeup and lighting as well.

the before and after pictures clearly shows the surgical enhancement.
fix the nose, lip, skin colour and their thunder thighs. after 40, they need staple gun and staple everything.

do you people even know how many of these stars travel to Dubai for laser skin lightening therapy??? i think a lot of you are assuming "bleaching" here just means using jolen or FEM lol...they all do it...Kaya in India has skin whitening peels which uses acids to lighten skin...and trust me, these packages sell like hot cakes. And FYI priyanka-throughout her shoot in miami for dostana-had airbrush foundation from head to toe to even out her skin tone (she's even darker in person!)...i was there so i should know...Mickey Contractor was following her around with "lighter" foundation and kept on applying it after every take!!! and what about all the actresses who wear green and blue contacts...insecurity or what???

Why are Indians so ashamed or conscious of their dark/dusky colour? Why do they bleach their skin? Fair actresses making vile comments on actresses who have dusky skins like for e.g the case of Bipasha Basu and Kareena Kapoor. Narrow mindedness, superior complex, racist or what?!!!!!!

How could you miss Madhuri? The most famous bleacher of bollywood and the worst skin. I have also seen her during the shooting of Saajan all in sweat and looked quite plain to me..she is not dark but no..she is not fair and has really very bad skin

Anonymous on Mon, 2009-06-29 15:27. You are way too intelligent for this forum. I think Africa has some of the MOST amazing people as does India. Africa is aware of it, just look at the high fashion models. India has amazing looking women too but they're just too stupid to know it.

Hmm I don't see any difference in their skin colour.
Makeup do wonders to face so yeah! It's makeup.
And bleaching your skin won't make you 'fair' if you are dusky!

i think people like kajol, susmita, shahrukh have used some lightening ot skin changing surgery or something because shahrukh and susmita look at them in deewana or biwi no.1 and look at kajol in karan arjun, ishq she was more manlier and darker there.

Gosh it cud be make-up dat makes em look fair dan b4....coz in olden days they used less make-up compare 2 now.

it's a never ending debate, better left alone. fact is one is never happy with his or her own skin color when it's not what we see endorsed on tv or in print. the beauty product manufacturers are having a great time because we keep on buying things hoping for a miracle, forgetting how GENES play a role in skin color.

whatever they feel comfortable in. Thats all it matters!

aishwarya is not fair ...miss world india who is conveying the world even miss world from india tries to look fair ...

I have seen Madhuri in reality wo makeup..she has a fair n pale skin. She is Konkanasth Brahmin for god of the unmixed Brahmins they do have blue/green eyes with very fair skin tone. Ishapkopigar is Saraswat Brahmin, Hemamalini is brahmin, Meenaxi Sheshadri is Brahmin, Vaijantimala is Brahmin,there r so only point is there r loads of fair people in India who r naturally fair.In films sometimes it's fashion trend n sometimes makeup n lighting.

n yes Sridevi was never fair but yes she was not dark also.If someone notices SRK in his early films he was dark but now in reality he is's all abt money, comfort, luxury n good food..u cant expect a begger on the road to look good as they hardly get food 2 times

Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 2009-06-29 19:19.Aish was never dark, Deepika never tried looking fair, n Sonam is okay too.
you are so naive, look at their makeup in various events and movies

here we go again!! we r once again justifying our actions by hollywood standards!!! It's just as wrong for us to be trying to whiten ourselves as it is for then to tan themselves!... Comeon! we r always justifying our actions by saying "Oh hwood does this so we can do this!" Why are we so keen on following the western culture?

If hritik can use fake Tan then why not fairness.These girls rock

These r celebrities who has to look good in order to sell the movie else people like me n u will complain tht there is no star factor in them. Stop complaing all the time

Aish was never dark, Deepika never tried looking fair, n Sonam is okay too.These r yesterday's heroins. Tht time (in 80s n 90s) fair was in but now days people prefer their skin color. Priyanka looks dusky not fair.Stop complaining

In India there are onyl hair bleaching creams excpet fair n lovely n some fairness creams from Dabur n Himani. Do u actually think these products work? I dont think it has anything to do with fairness, it's all abt selling products to women. In US n Europeans countries too u will get the skin brightening creams (how abt tht???). Lets admit tht white or any light color looks attractive even to a 6 months old. In this post they have shown actresses, these r pretty beautiful people, better than normal people. Agree tht they use tone of makeup but u cant blame them, fair color looks good on the screen n they r selling wht looks good as it's their bread n butter. Also it's not only makeup, it's good diet, exercise and lifestyle too. Any average person if remain inside out in AC 24 hrs tend to have clear complexion. Another thing is, there are some really fair people is India as it's a country of diff culture, skin color n religion. Why to make big deal of someone's fair skin color. People shown here r frm South n have used tones of makeup for sure, but there r hundreds of actors who r fair naturally n they dont use tone of makeup or bleaching cream. Also, lets not make a big deal of fair skin color, if Europeans can use tan for giving depth to their features (which is bad for skin) then same here in India. U get attracted towrds something u dont have.Dont make a big deal abt it.

do you girls bleach your each and every part:)

Submitted by kumar on Sun, 2009-06-28 21:53.

Come on yaar...

Actually I have been to African countries and India and it’s not common at all to find skin bleaching treatments or fairness creams in African countries (at least not as common as in India). Believe it or not some people do not feel the need to be of Caucasian complexion to feel beautiful or to feel good about themselves or their family background.

Having said that I would have to agree with previous comments mentioning that in India and around the world some media tend to promote whiteness or fairness as a benchmark for beauty. You would surely be in deep denial if you cannot recognize this issue and think that bleaching is not common in India. Simply start by counting all the fairness treatments available in India, among them you'll find the “the best creams in the world” which cost “tons of money” that some of theses actresses or any woman following your school of thought would have tried. After all it seems that according to your comment, in India, fairness equals good person/ "good family".
Now it is an opinion that you are entitled to, but I could not help but give my opinion which strongly condemn yours because I do sense elitism bordering racism, also reminiscent of nazis discourses, in the way you used the words “good”, “unmixed”(pure), “blue eyes”, “Caucasian complexion” in your last sentence.
To cut things short I’m asking to anyone to please think of the discrimination and injustices caused by a sense of supremacy or racism - which we have already witnessed in human history - before setting any skin color as characteristics of goodness or social status/achievement.

where is aishwarya rai??????????
she shud be in it first

it's not skin bleaching..its known tht with life style change(being in AC 24 hrs) n food habits u tend to become clearer in complexion plus these r stars who has ton of money n can afford best creams in the bleaching is common only in African countries not in India..for someone's info Aish is fair naturally..I don knw why some south Indians think tht entire India has complexion like them..u can find goood family, unmixed brahmins with blue eyes n caucasian comlplexion

while it's true there no point in targeting celebs, people blindly follow what they see in movies and the way celebs are seen in public. do you think ne1 would've cared about Rekha if she were the dark woman she was when she first came to Mumbai?
would there be such a publicity stunt had Aish not tried the skin bleaching
look at the matrimonial ads in India and for Indians, what's the preference. on the surface everyone says, they don't care about the skin color and that's a bunch of b.s.
deliberate or not, we have perpetuated the skin color preference in our movies, ads, media outlets and celebs have proudly done their part to further that too.
as long as humans inhabit this planet, this issue will never die down and that's the sad reality. look at the african american talk show hosts and models, years ago they were tan looking and now they are looking light skinned. this is not just a bollywood or indian thing, it's a global "epidemic" and we have passed it on to our kids and grandkids. is it ignorance or stupidity, you guys decide!

you forgot soman kapoor

Ɍemarkable!Its in fact awesome paragraph, I have got much clear іdea concerning from this article.

you forgot aish and deepika
also priyanka

these girls started as dusky but now really fair - bad man!

to anonymous below
no it wasnt. she is definitly 3 shades lighter in malini iyer. there,she looks as fair as peity zinta for goodness sakes!

Sridevi NEVER bleached her skin!!!! OMG you guys are so argh!!
This photo of her is darkened...its from Khuda Gawah. You should see the movie her skin color was the same as Malini Iyer one.

and madhuri DONT FORGET HER! she was very "Dusky" in beta, tezzab, raja, etc, and now look at her , so "fair" lol. strange!

i doubt they care that bleaching isn't good for the skin. and its not just lighting. many men and women in bollywood endorse fairness creams. asin, aishwarya, sonam, shahrukh, john, rani, priyanka etc.
but i agree. we should not belittle them unless it is an injustice to others. i doubt it is. i mean yes maybe in india having fair skin increases your chances of an employee liking you at an interview but so does having really nice legs, nose, lips etc. i dont think we should belittle them. i am visiting india as of now and mostly everyone bathroom or dresser has tube of fair and lovely or something similar on it/in it. it is a part of our culture that i doubt will ever go away as much as one would like it too. also, lets aknowledge that though bipasha and freida are dark they are still exceedingly beautiful. just as aishwarya and ameesha patel are beautiful.

there's no doubt the rekha has done SOMETHING to her skin

This isn't skin bleaching, it's the lighting in each picture that makes the skin tones look different. All Indians have this because we have a brownish skin color with golden tones underneath. So when there is less light the brown shows more. With more light (either on the film set, or just natural light outside), the golden, light tones show more, so the skin looks lighter. I highly doubt any of these actresses bleached their whole body. Bleaching isn't good for the skin anyway.

in response to a comment below: why do you say its ok for white ppl to tan and not ok for brown ppl to bleach? how is the first natural and the second isn't? both changes are linked to socio economis status and race-so why is one ok and the other isn't? as for everyone getting all worked up..News Flash: ALL of your favourite actors and actresses in bollywood bleach. I repeat ALL of them. the reason being they cannot be taken seriously in indian cinema without it. as for everyone all proud of bipasha because she doesnt bleach? ive seen many photos where her face and neck are significantly lighter than her chest and shoulders. And Bipasha i doubt will ever be as big as Rekha, Hema, and Aish. it just doesn't happen in india. period.

karma: 99.99% use fairness creams?? I certainly dont think so!
and we must consider these pics are way old( the older ones)and over all these years a lot of things have changed lighting techniques, camera angles, makeup techniques etc which make a huge difference.
I am not denying that they might have used treatment but not everyune uses a beauty treatment to look fair

So what if people use fairness cream...I mean in America all these people want to look darker and they tan the heck out of themselves be it by tanning beds or sitting out in the sun...both of which can cause skin cancer! People who are lighter want to be darker, people who are darker want to be lighter! People with brown hair get blonde highlights, people with blonde hair get brown highlights...BIG FREAKIN DEAL! I've seen white people who have tanned so much they are darker in skin color than me and I'm Indian! And keep in mind fairness creams are found all over ASIA...not just India...just like self tanners are found all over in the US!

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