[wrote a longer response but a friend x’d out of it by mistake]
Whilst I agree with you that skin bleaching poses more of a health risk than relaxing one’s hair, I also see where Dencia and others who agree with her (had a twitter convo on skin bleaching a few weeks back) are coming from in the sense that these two processes are birthed from the same anti-blackness and white supremacist standards of beauty that dominate much of the world. Both involve the use of heavy and harmful chemicals that drastically alter one’s physical appearance but, apart from the risks posed, where hair relaxing is more accepted and skin bleaching is not is probably due to the fact that racism itself was structured and built on discrimination by way of one’s skin color. Hair is more of a side-effect, despite how political it is in the black community. Also, one can easily cut off one’s relaxed or or transition back into their hair’s natural state. Skin bleaching doesn’t offer that easy reversible option.
Dencia also has a point where she says that altering one’s opinion as an adult is one’s choice, fair enough, but what she’s not acknowledging in all these interviews is that whatever the real purpose of her product is (dark spots or dark skin in whatever capacity), the way in which the advertising for Whitenicious is framed has a critical history to it. It’s really no different from these:
Her cream is just the next phase in an advertising revolution of the above series. Racism in the 21st century may not always be as blatant as it once was but subtle forms of racism do not negate its manifestation, presence and impact. Not to mention how lightening your face is a terrible way to deal with hyper-pigmentation.