The use of skin lightening creams has become a socially acceptable phenomenon widely practised by both men and women in Lagos, Nigeria. Four hundred and fifty traders were selected to ascertain the extent of this practice and what socio-cultural and economic factors determine the use of these cosmetics. Prevalence of use of skin lightening cosmetics was 77.3% comprising ninety-six males (27.6%) and two hundred and fifty two females (72.4%). The trend cuts across all socioeconomic strata, age, sex and marital status. Hydroquinolone based products were the most commonly used products although cortico-steroids and mercury-based products were also widely used. Of eleven dermatological side effects that were reported, exogenous ochronosis was the commonest. Recommendations on how to correct this ill in the society have been proffered.