By Geofrey Beigana
Lightening the skin to become fairer seems to be a common practice among dark skinned populations globally. According to the Question & Answer website, Quora; low self-esteem, racism, societal pressure are some of the reasons why people bleach their skin. Societal pressure is said to come from women and not men. Fair-skinned individuals in society tend to be regarded as better looking, beautiful or handsome.
Although there is proven evidence on dangers of skin bleaching, many people especially women in Africa still continues to use skin lightening products. Some of the dangers of skin bleaching includes; increased risk of skin cancer, acne, dermatitis, etc. The World Health Organisation estimates that nearly 77% of Nigerian women uses skin lightening products.
It’s against this backdrop that the IPSF African Regional Office (AfRO) through its Regional Projects Office, has started a public health campaign against skin bleaching. The campaign dab “Beauty Beyond Colour” aims to sensitise the public on the dangers of skin bleaching, how to identify bleaching chemicals and to have confidence in their skin colour. The campaign will be conducted on social media and will feature voices from AfRO members on skin bleaching.
What is skin bleaching?
Skin bleaching is the intentional use of chemical substances to lighten the skin tone /complexion by reducing the amount of melanin present in the skin. Melanin produced by the cells in the skin known as melanocytes is the protein responsible for the dark/tanned complexion. The variation of skin colours among people is mostly due to variation of the content of melanin in the skin. Generally, dark skinned people produce more melanin than white people. Melanin has multiple advantages in the skin including giving the skin its colour and protecting the skin from the damaging effect of sun rays.
The writer is the Regional Projects Officer of IPSF African Regional Office. firstname.lastname@example.org