InformAfrica – African women and skin bleaching. Why destroy your natural skin? Skin bleaching thins your skin, weakens your muscles, destroys your skin cells (melanin), slow the healing of wound, and in some cases lead to osteoporosis. African women must stop bleaching their skin, it makes no sense.
By Tinu Oginni
Tinu Oginni, a beauty and make-up expert based in the United Kingdom; shares with us her mission to create more awareness about the long term effect of using bleaching products to change skin tone by people of all ages and background.
Tinu also wants to create more awareness on why we are dark in colour and enable us build our confidence in being black, enrich our lives and reveal our hidden beauty so that we live in good state of health.
According to her, in this modern appearance- conscious society in which we live, there is a myth that lighter, pale complexion portrays beauty, riches, success, and people are often commended on the fairness of their skin. “This misguided belief has resulted in making a lot of people bow to this social pressure, which is enormous and cuts across all the strata of our society.”
“It is imperative, therefore, on our part that we put a halt to this. Banning of products containing hydroquinone and mercury will not stop the products from entering Nigeria, but the only way to make a positive impact on preventing this anormaly from spreading is to create more awareness about the long term effects of using skin bleaching products on our skin,” said Ogini.
She stated that in order to combat this problem, confidence teaching must start in the homes and then in the schools to enable children value themselves, i.e, their colour, religion, culture, family, country.” “Beauty is more than skin deep. The radiance that shines through an individual and her comportments are all attributes that attest not only to her beauty but also her confidence.
To change your skin colour is to betray your maker and your faith, for in the realm of religion there must be no room for vanity, “ she said. Bleaching, according to her, is most certainly not pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. “In order to change the psyche of our people, I am organizing a national crusade across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria in which various lectures intended to expose the negative underpinnings of bleaching will be delivered by scholars and researchers such as dermatologists, psychologists, beauticians and religious leaders among others.”
Areas of concern will include: Why we have our skin colour; medical, social, spiritual and economic implications of bleaching our skin. The campaign against this anomally aims to educate through the aggressive use of the mass media such as, television, radio jingles, newspapers, magazines, flyers, posters, bill board, public campaign, seminars and workshop.
What is bleaching?
Bleaching is using products that contain hydroquinone and mercury to change our colour. There is also a new product in market containing kajoic acid. All these products work by inhibiting the production of melanin. Hydroquinone is a severely toxic and very powerful chemical used in photo processing, the manufacture of rubber and is an active agent in hair dye. Mercury in the form of Mercury Chloride and Ammoniated Mercury is carcinogenic (Cancer-causing agent). They appear on the list of toxic substances that can only be purchased via pharmacies with prescribed labels of toxicity.
What are the long term effects of using bleaching products on our skin?
- Bleaching leads to increase thinning of the skin and stretch marks.
- Bleaching is associated to being a carcinogen. (Cancer- causing agent).
- Bleaching pills are toxic and can cause damage to internal organs such as kidney and liver.
- Bleaching leaves odour which is anything from stale, mousy, to fishy
- Skin bleaching can cause rough, blotchy skin, leaving it with a spotty cavier appearance.
Why do people use skin bleaching products?
- Uneven complexion tone (skin with blemishes).
- Consumers being lured by marketing ploy.
- Lack of basic information and education on why we are dark in colour (ignorance).
- Social pressure (some consider bleaching as fashionable).
There is usually an underlying cause for uneven complexion tone. They include: Eczema, acne, poor nutrition. Visit a dermatologist, do not apply unprescribed cream on your skin! Manufacturers of skin bleaching products use marketing ploy to lure customers, i.e putting toning and lightening in the same sentence.
Skin lightening and toning are two different things Lightening is bleaching. Toning is freshenening up your skin. Manufacturers of skin bleaching products may not be fully versed with the side effect of their products. Some products present misleading labels or are economical with the truth (i.e. 2% hydroquinone while it contains 6% or even more). Manufacturers of skin bleaching products coming into Nigeria must label their products to include the proper warning label i.e (bleaching may harm your skin)
A lot of people lack basic information and education on why our skin is dark in colour. In Nigeria shinning of the sun is intense. God created us with the right skin type to survive the harshness. Our body produces melanin which protects our skin from the harmful (ultra violet ray of the sun). Without melanin production, we would need to cover our skin with sun screen; without melanin production, our skin will be vulnerable and risk a greater chance of developing cancer. The more melanin we produce the darker we are.
We are beautiful creatures that God made and gave us different skin tone. All colours are beautiful but there are ways we can care for our skin by maintaining or improving its look and texture. Fortunately, a woman skin does not have to be truly flawless to look like it is, the steps to create a perfect finish starts with a great skin care programme, such as:
- Cleanse your skin to remove make-up and impurities.
- Exfoliate your skin to remove dead surface cells.
- Freshen your skin to tone and refine pores.
- Moisturize your skin for soft, smooth skin.
- Protect your skin from environmental damage using foundation while colour cosmetics will produce the fabulous finish when required.
Additional Commentary by Kevin Onuma:
When you think BLACK, you think LOVE; and our SKIN color is what we live and die for. It is our ‘African Heritage’. Love it. Let no one take it away from you mentally or otherwise. African women stop bleaching your skin!
Bleaching your skin also thins your skin, weakens your muscles, destroys your skin cells, slow the healing of wound, and even causes osteoporosis (thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density).
If you think you’re not beautiful when you’re Black; you sure would look ugly when you bleach your skin. #STAYBLACK