- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- D.R. Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea Bissau
- Ivory Coast
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Men and women bleach their skin to look white. According to research by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigerians have been graded as the nation with the highest consumption of bleaching products: 77% of Nigerian women bleach, followed by Togo with 59% while South Africa with 35%; and Mali at 25%, making it the top four nations that bleach their skin.
A lot of it is down to low self-esteem. Cosmetologists are making a lot of money off the bleachers even though the risks of contracting skin cancer on the long run is high. The business of whitening lotion is a multi-million dollar business. Many of the components of the skin-lightening creams are not only fake but also harmful to the skin. Some years ago, products that contains hydroquinone and mercury were banned in Nigeria but somehow they found their ways back to the shelves with women using it.
According to Paul Orhii, the director general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Nigeria, bleaching creams are not approved but one way or the other, they are smuggled illegally into the country:
“The use of Glutathione as a skin whitener is not approved. The alarming increase in the unapproved use of Glutathione administered intravenously as a skin-whitening agent at very high doses is unsafe and may result in serious consequences. Furthermore, other chemicals that have been medically proven to be injurious to health such as Hydroquinone above 2%, and topical Corticosteroids have also been incorporated into cosmetic products for skin lightening or skin toning. Banned chemicals also include Boric acid and Lanolin in baby products. The use of these chemicals in cosmetic products can cause various ranges of skin deformation, injury to skin and cancers. This unethical practice by manufacturers, coupled with ignorance on the part of consumers, has left many skins permanently damaged.”
Recently, Ivory Coast, banned bleaching creams in the country. Despite this directive, the business thrives illegally in the country.
“The number of people with side effects caused by these medicines is really high,” said Christian Doudouko, who is a current member of Ivory Coast’s pharmaceutical authority. He also added that such products causes skin cancer.
“Mercury is the very dangerous chemical that medical officials found in the skin lightening creams that sickened the women. It can damage the kidneys and wreak havoc on the nervous system,” Dr. Susan Taylor, dermatologist said.
“Skin cancer and hyperpigmetation will catch up with them sooner than later, they cannot escape it, what do you expect when you have removed the different layers of the skin over the years, the epidermis – which is the protective wrap that serves as a barrier to infections. Bleaching is harmful to the skin and also the organs,” explained Dr. Eunice Chukwu, an Abuja-based dermatologist.