The ban on skin whitening creams has been a long time coming. I do not know if you have heard about this, but last Wednesday Ivory Coast officials announced that they had serious concerns about the long term health issues that were raised based on the use of skin whitening creams.
As such they moved into swift action and banned specific creams and lotions that contain the ingredient hydroquinone in the amounts of 2% or more.
According to Christian Doudouko the number of people who were experiencing side effects from the cream’s are alarmingly high. Here’s what they had to say:
“Cosmetic lightening and hygiene creams … that depigment the skin … are now forbidden”
Which means that the number of people using these types of cosmetics is even higher. In this day and age as we work on self appreciation I do not know why I am surprised at the continued popularity of these bleaching agents.
The side effects include skin cancer, diabetes, mercury poisoning and hypertension, all of which have been linked to the long term use of these creams.
One of the problems we think contribute to the continued popularity of these cosmetics is the fact that they are so embraced by pop culture artists.
Our society is very much influenced by what these people do and how they look, and areas like West Africa, are just as vulnerable to mass media images like many of us are in the US.
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To that point The Guardian said:
Although there are no official figures on how many women use such products across Africa, billboards advertising the potentially deadly creams can be seen in cities across the continent.
“In our cultures, some people think women with light skin are the most beautiful. This beauty standard … pushes many girls to depigment their skin,” Ekra said.
“What we see in the media is the lighter one’s skin is, the better one’s life,” he added, referring to advertisements that fill the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s biggest city, showing models with lighter-than-average skin.
Remember when Dencia pictured above debuted her new skin tone after using the cosmetic line Whitenicious? Even though many of us spoke out against it there are still women supporting the brand based on her endorsement.
In countries like Jamaica and on the Continent of Africa generally we can only hope that these warnings are taken onboard by the masses. Still I fear that this could just lead to booming ‘black market’ sales of these products.
Yes we need to ban skin bleaching creams in more areas but until then maybe we can turn things around by educating people and helping them to embrace their dark skin realizing that it is beautiful just the way it is.
See more on skin bleaching: