The BBC is reporting that the Ivory Coast has banned skin-whitening or skin-lightening cream because of health concerns. The creams have been popular in Europe, Asia and Africa because of the dominant and erroneous belief that lighter skin makes one more beautiful. The author writes:
“…medical experts say they may cause cancer, diabetes, severe skin conditions and other diseases.’ ‘The number of people with side-effects caused by these medicines is really high,’ Christian Doudouko, a member of Ivory Coast’s pharmaceutical authority, was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. British consultant dermatologist Justine Kluk told the BBC the major concern was over unregulated products, which may contain ingredients such as mercury or excessive amounts of steroids.”
Side-effects can include high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, weight gain, permanent discoloration and mood disturbance.
OZY reports that skin-lightening creams are illegal in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Gambia already, but bans have proven ineffective due to under-the-counter trade.
The BBC article reports that the use of whitening creams in Africa is most widespread in Nigeria – where more than 75% of women buy them, according to a 2008 UN Environment Programme study.
Read more at BBC News.com.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news blog the Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.