For some Somali women, having a lighter skin tone and using skin bleaching cream is the ultimate beauty goal and they use skin products containing dangerous chemicals to reach that goal.
‘Doqon iyo habenbaa madow‘ Skin whitening is a growing business, costing $ 20 billion and estimated to reach $ 31 billion by 2024 (TRT World – February 1, 2018).
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s ( Local Government Association) Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Skin creams containing banned ingredients are very dangerous and could seriously damage your health, scar you for life and even kill you, so they should be avoided at all costs.
He also emphasized that “If the product doesn’t display the ingredients at all, then don’t use it.”
Use Of Skin Bleaching Cream Practices In Somali Community
“To be a beautiful Somali woman, one has to have lighter skin color,” Amira Adawe, co-author of “Skin-Lightening Practices and Mercury Exposure in the Somali Community,” said in a recent interview describing the attitude of some women. Ultimate beauty goal.
Several Somali women who were interviewed for the study published in July said they mix products that include lemon herbal whitening cream, lulanjina, diana and dermovate — some of which have mercury, a poison that can damage the nervous system, according to the study.
The study added: “ that mercury can go through the mother to infant through breast milk.”
Adawe, who was born in Somalia, said she knows many Somali women who use the products. “You can tell who uses it and who doesn’t,” she said. “You can’t mistake it with naturally light-skin people. These creams give people more of yellowish color.”
Adawe said the women who use the products often aren’t open about the practice. “Actually, they’ll deny when you ask them,” she said.
Adawe said there significant numbers of Somali women are satisfied with their natural skin tone and don’t consider using the skin products.
“It all depends on their confidence and level of education,” Adawe said. “Uneducated people tend to use these products more often.”
Things To Avoid On Skin Bleaching Cream
- The FDA does not consider over-the-counter skin lightening products safe or effective.
- Most skin lightening products not recommended for darker skin tones and could cause hyperpigmentation.
- Skin lightening treatments also not recommended for use by children.
- Not for use for pregnant women
- Not for use Breastfeeding mothers.
- Avoid using skin-lightening products if your skin is sensitive to them.
Why The Growth On Skin Bleaching Cream
So, what made it possible for the proven trade of skin-lightening products to grow so rapidly in Africa and Asia?
Ultimate beauty goals promoted by media, advertising, and marketing reinforce
the bias that a lighter skin tone is more desirable than a darker skin tone.
Skin lightening products that are commonly used in many African, Asian, and the Caribbean
Also used among dark-skinned populations in Europe and North America.
What Could Go Wrong In Skin Lightening Cream
Possible risks of skin-lightening creams containing hydroquinone, corticosteroids, or mercury include:
- skin turning dark or too light
- thinning of the skin
- visible blood vessels in the skin
- kidney, liver or nerve damage
- abnormalities in a newborn baby (if used during pregnancy)
Are Skin Whitening Products Harmful?
Skin bleaching is a cosmetic treatment to reduce the notability of skin discolorations and even out the color of the skin. You can buy bleaching creams over the counter and by prescription.
Skin color is determined by the amount of melanin in the skin. Melanin is a pigment produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. People with dark skin have more melanin.
What Determines Skin Melanin
- Genetic Makeup
- Sunlight exposure,
- Skin damage, Exposure to certain chemicals
How Do Skin Bleaching Cream Work ?
Skin lighteners contain an active ingredient or a combination of ingredients that reduces the amount of melanin in the skin where it is applied.
The most widely used ingredient in skin lighteners is hydroquinone, mercury, steroids, and retinoic acid, which comes from vitamin A, as active ingredients.
Natural ingredients such as kojic acid — a compound that comes from a fungus — and arbutin, a compound found in various plants.
Techniques Used To Lighten The Skin
- Skin-lightening creams
- Laser treatment
Risks of Skin Lighteners
- Redness and swelling (skin irritation and inflammation)
- A burning or stinging sensation
- Itchy and flaky skin
- kidney damage
- Skin rashes
- Skin discolorationscarring,
- Reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial
and fungal infections
- Depression and Psychosis
- Peripheral neuropathy
Special Precautions When Using a Skin Lightener
Skin-lightening approaches can result in serious side effects and obstacles. People with dark skin tones are particularly at risk of these problems.
- Talk to your doctor before using a skin lightener and ask for specific instructions for the product.
- Make sure there is no mercury in the product. Which sometimes listed under other names, such as calomel, mercuric, mercurous, or mercurio.
- Make sure an over-the-counter skin lightener with hydroquinone has no more than 2% of that chemical.
- If a label lists hydroquinone but doesn’t say how much it contains, don’t assume it’s safe to use. Some foreign products contain more hydroquinone than is allowed in the U.S. and some labels may not be accurate.
The Minamata Convention on Skin Lightening Products
The Mercury establishes a limit of 1 mg/kg (1 ppm) for skin lightening products, yet many cosmetic products contain mercury levels higher than that amount to increase the whitening effect
Skin bleaching is not the ultimate beauty goal it’s a personal choice that shouldn’t be made lightly. It has no health benefits and has been linked to a number of very serious side effects. If you’re considering skin bleaching, see your doctor or a dermatologist about the benefits and risks.
I have witnessed and treated a handful of ladies with skin-related issues who keep on denying the fact that they were using skin-lightening products but the signs are obvious. Others were hospitalized and dialysis commenced, the situation is pathetic.
Lack of awareness of the effects of the products is the main culprits, absent or weak father also plays an important role in this pandemic. Fathers need to take the lead and become bold enough to stop this menace. I’m treating a young lady who was presently married and her marriage is in trouble because of the danger the hash chemical she was applying on her body. I rest my case.