Which Skin Whitening Products Celebrities Use?

Skin lightening treatments by celebrities have become a common occurrence in recent years, that’s despite controversies around the reasons behind it.

Our society is slowing adapting to different beauty standards and skin tone. Lighter and fairer skin is something that everyone craves for, and celebrities play a massive part in paving the way.

So which celebrities are accused of using skin brightening products?

So, talking about the celebrities, who are the celebs who had darker skin originally but over the years have adorned lighter shades? Let’s look at few of them, have they really bleached their skin and if so, what creams, injections or pills have they been using!


Rihanna is the first celebrity that comes to everyone’s mind when it comes to skin whitening. She has repeatedly been accused of utilizing skin whitening products and treatments to get a lighter complexion.

Over the years, Rihanna has been portraying an array of different looks, and some believe that the change in her complexion is a part of that. Some also believe the opposite. They say maybe the looks are just an excuse for her to change her skin tone. Well, who should we believe?

Though Rihanna has never commented on her use of any whitening products publicly, yet when we see the difference in old photos with current ones, there is definitely a visible change. There is a speculation that her skin care routine consists of a special type of melanin blocking product that helps to get rid of the darker pigments on the skin. Cream that contains hydroquinone, a skin-lightening chemical, can be used with the retinol cream for visible lighter results.


Beyoncé is one of the highly respected stars of Hollywood. But that has not stopped her to portray signs of skin whitening consistently. Beyoncé has been a symbol when it comes to equal opportunities and rights for black and non-black artists. Then why has her skin been getting lighter with each passing year? She even dyed her hair blond which was a bit disappointing for her fans as it conflicted with her ideology of beauty for various races.

image Credit: StantonDaily.com

Beyonce’s skin has never shown any drastic tone changes. This means that maybe she is just taking proper skin care without using any chemical treatments. It is said that she always starts her day with a high-level of SPF protection from the sun’s harsh rays. Experts also say that when using a combination of good exfoliants like microdermabrasion, AHA-containing products, or chemical peels you can easily get lighter, brighter, and softer skin by getting rid of dead skin cell. What do you think, has Beyonce been bleaching her skin??

Nicki Minaj

It is still not clear if Nicki Minaj, the sensational pop star, has indeed gone through skin lightening treatments. But her fans and many bloggers have highlighted that her skin tone has gotten a lot lighter with time. You can notice a definite change in her skin tone if you compare her photos over the years.

Nicki Minaj’s skin whitening transition is not drastic. This kind of change can be achieved by using natural skin whitening creams that contain a combination of exfoliants and natural melanin blockers or just the regular skin lightening creams. This would speed up the process of skin cell turnover and will help in getting rid of dull and dark skin in no time.

Lil’ Kim

Rapper Lil’ Kim has shown drastic skin changes over last few years. It might be due to skin whitening treatments or makeup. But looking at how comfortable Lil’ Kim is with cosmetic procedures, her skin whitening is surely by chemical methods. Lil’ Kim has gone through numerous transformations, and now she looks more Asian than African-American!

There is a speculation that Lil’ Kim has gone the nine yards with laser skin lightening. In laser skin treatment procedure, short, concentrated pulsed light beams are projected to the targeted damaged skin area. These treatments are very costly, and you cannot stop at one to get the desired results.

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling, the American actress, comedian and writer, may not be just an average celebrity, yet she too has shown signs of skin lightening. But fans claim that their favourite celebrity is just taking care and following specific skin care regime for the skin.

When Mindy first came to the spotlight, her skin was in terrible condition. So the way her skin looks now maybe because she is taking better care of her skin. Mindy Kaling and her skin lightening might just be the case of using skin brighteners and staying out of the sun.

Trina McGee

The ‘Boy Meets the World’ actress went from dark skinned African American to an Asian American! At least that’s what her photos show. Rumour has it that in order to make a comeback after the only gig she got playing in the above TV show; Trina altered her looks, whitened her skin and turned her natural black hair blonde.

Upon probing  by her fans, Trina reacted by denying the allegations. In her words, “Black does not crack. The new look is still 100% ME.” she tweeted . Whatever she used on her skin has got to have powerful melanin inhibiting powers to produce such drastic changes. Could it be laser skin lightening? For now, we can only guess.

Vera Sidika

The African Socialite usually referred to as ‘Kenya’s Kim Kardashian’ has no apologies for the over $150,000 she spent on skin lightening. Like so many other originally dark skinned celebrities, Vera believes and actually said that this was something she needed to do to further her career.

To further support her decision, she claims that other stars like Nicki Minaj and Rihanna had done it so it wasn’t much of a big deal. While some sources claim that Vera’s skin lightening is the work of a lightening cream, she has been recorded saying that she sought the services of a dermatologist in the UK; She had to ‘do it right’.

Given how fast it took for her to transition, she could have been telling the truth, advanced derma-treatment it was!


After almost 4 decades in the limelight as a supermodel, people are bound to notice even the slightest bit of change in skin tone. That is the case with supermodel Iman who also happens to be an actress and entrepreneur. Her skin lightening is not as drastic as it is the case with other celebs but as the photos show, recent ones have stirred speculations among fans.

This could be the work of natural skin lightening creams which are known to work by reducing the amount of melanin that your skin produces or some other lightening procedures that do not cause too much lightening.

Keri Hilson

Keri Hilson looks lighter than ever before! That’s just a summary of comments made about the singer, songwriter and actress. Despite several of such accusations, Keri has remained mum about the issue. Some attribute her lighter complexion to make-up and lighting while others insist that skin lightening is evident.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words! Well, whether lighting and makeup are at play is still debatable. If indeed Keri has lightened her skin. This is probably the work of a melanin blocking cream, reduced sun exposure and some makeup.

Irene Major

Irene Major’s movement from Cameroonian runways to France did not cause much stir in her life. She wasn’t so popular as model and even when she married her husband, oil tycoon and founder of Madagascar Oil. The mother of 5 who now stays in London with her family managed to steal the limelight when she rocked a white complexion at 2014 edition of the X-Factor UK contest.

Irene has admitted to using lightening creams and other products to alter her skin tone from dark to light. In her own defence, she confessed that paler skin made her feel prettier. Despite having landed a husband in her originally dark skin, she also attributed her decision to the fact that black successful men opted for lighter skinned women and she grew up knowing that. Her annual budget for skin lightening products is around $2000.


The American singer made her mark with her debut hit ‘Goodies’ back in 2004. The song was an instant success topping the Billboard Hot 100 for seven straight weeks. Although she has gotten a lot of media coverage as an African American Award winning diva, its her changing looks that has created much buzz.   

Back when she started out, her skin was visibly darker or what can be described as a chocolate complexion. At the time her makeup artist Yolanda Frederick, had this to say, “Ciara’s very comfortable in her own skin and actually prefers to wear as little makeup as possible.”

Few albums later and all that changed. By 2013 she was spotting a lighter complexion and even blond hair dos. The reason she gave for the flawless skin was a consistent skin care routine. Her regimen consists of washing her face twice a day with an Anti-Aging foam cleanser.

Diana Ross

Diana is an Award winning American singer who hit the airwaves in 1960’s. She was the lead singer of ‘the Supremes’, a vocal trio that became the best charting girl group in US history. She later went solo and remains a big success to this day. Apart from her singing career it’s her seemingly never-aging skin that is the source much speculation.    

She has refuted skin lightening rumours over the years. This is despite the clear change in her skin tone that has moved from black to lighter throughout her career. Her denial persists even in the face of opinion from experts who speculate that her youthful look is as a result of cosmetic procedures. We might never know the truth but I got to say, she sure does seem to be on the younger and lighter side for a 71-years old black woman.

Tamar Braxton

The R&B singer started her career as a toddler. She was a member of the sister-act ‘The Braxtons’, which comprised of Toni Braxton among others. Her sole career has seen her bag several awards. Away from her spectacular voice, it’s her skin that has brought about much controversy in her life. This stems from the fact that early in her life she had a much darker skin which is not the case nowadays.

Amidst speculation that her skin has appeared lighter over time, Tamar insists that she hasn’t lightened her skin. She has been quoted as saying her lighter tone is due to Vitiligo, a skin condition that causes loss of colour in skin. According to her, the condition has worsened over time which would explain why she is appearing lighter every day. 

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Halle Berry

The American is one of the most famous black actors in Hollywood. She has maintained a high profile since she began acting back in 1989. The thing that gets people talking is how she never seems to age, if anything she seems to be getting prettier and….you guessed it, lighter! Although her skin is devoid of wrinkles, fine lines or age spots which come with age, she has denied using skin lightening products or procedures.

Her whiter skin on many photos has been blamed on photoshopping by magazines and tabloids. The 51-year old actress however says that skin care is something she has taken seriously ever since she was 14 years old. According to an interview, she wears sun protection all year round, cleanses and moisturizes twice a day, and doesn’t wear makeup unless she is working.

Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks is an American rapper and actress whose career took off when she was 17 years old. She became an instant sensation after releasing a single that went viral back in 2011. What makes her stand out is the fact that she is among the few celebrities who have publicly admitted to whitening their skin.

She is proud of her bleached skin and equates it to wearing 30-inch weaves. In this You Tube video which she had originally posted on her Facebook page, she delves on why skin bleaching is commonplace among people of darker skin. To borrow a quote from the video, “As a black person in this world you assimilate. There are things you accept. This has become the norm because it’s happening all the time.”

Although she doesn’t say what treatment(s) she used, her before and after photos paint a picture of drastic measures; nothing short of a chemical peel or laser skin lightening.

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra is an Indian actress who started out as a model, winning the Miss World title in 2000. She made her mark in Bollywood before moving to Hollywood where she continues to bag acting awards. Most actors admit that a fair skin is the way to go for success in India’s film industry, Priyanka was not left behind, see for yourself;

In an interview with Vogue India she let on how skin lightening is viewed her motherland, “I was very conscious of the colour of my skin…Because there [in India] you’re prettier if you’re fairer”. This was in response to a question on why she endorsed a whitening cream earlier in her career.

She has also admitted to using skin lightening products when much younger, but we find it a bit weird that even now her skin looks a lot lighter than only just few years ago…

Sammy Sosa

If you think skin lightening is a preserve for women only; you got another thing coming. Sammy Sosa, the Dominican-born former Chicago Cubs right fielder had to clear skin lightening rumours after photos surfaced online that appeared to show drastic skin tone change.  

He cleared the air by admitting that he indeed uses a skin lightening cream. “It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some,” said the former baseball player. He added, “What happened was that I had been using the cream for a long time and that, combined with the bright TV lights, made my face look whiter than it really is.”

Vybz Kartel

Vybz Kartel is one of the most prolific Jamaican music artists to date. The dancehall hit maker started out in 1993 but was not until 2003 that he rose into prominence. Just to get a picture of how successful he is, tabloids have christened him ‘The King of Dancehall’. Music aside, it’s his skin colour that has probably made him an even bigger celebrity; at least in prison where he is serving life.  

He is arguably the most famous bleacher from Jamaica and he is openly proud of it.

He initially attributed his bleached skin to using cake soap. He later changed the story and said that he used his own skin lightening product while trying to make his tattoos more visible.

He said skin bleaching is just as similar to wearing a weave or tanning. He has since launched a line of skin lightening products consisting of soaps and creams. The products are made of sweet potatoes, mineral oil, xanthan gum, lanolin, glycerine, and water. Spoiler alert: The line has not gone commercial yet; do not try this at home….at least wait until the products have gone through industry/government approval first!

Michael Jackson

And we’ll end up with The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who hit the headlines for more than one reasons. Apart from his tremendous success in music, he made a 360 degrees turn with his skin colour. This is in addition to several surgeries to ‘improve’ his features.

As his doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray put it; Michael bleached his skin to ‘erase’ the memory of his abusive father. This was contrary to the claims by both Michael and his family that he was suffering from Vitiligo which causes loss of skin colour in any parts of the body. His dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein would later confirm that he was indeed suffering from Vitiligo. Whether it was one reason or the other, changing from dark to milky white complexion is in no small transformation.

Apparently Michael used Benoquin cream under his dermatologists care. Later, after his death tubes of Benoquin and Hydroquinone creams were found in his home.

So what’s your take on it? Why does skin colour matter so much to so many of the celebs? Is it just a matter of skincare companies using celebrities to urge us to lighten our skin so they can earn bigger profits?


sonia knight

Sonia Knight is the founder of be:skinformed.

Apart from having her own experience with hyperpigmentation, Sonia has gained vast knowledge in the dermatology field. For more info on this, check out our about us page.

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