skin bleaching

Dangers associated with skin bleaching

Mthandazo Ndlovu

MANY a times when we talk of drugs and substances abuse, our heads turn and we begin to look around, for a staggering being, one with blood-shot eyes, a disoriented chatter box being or scruffy, dirty-looking individual.

We are living in the crazy phase of the yellow bone, where our brothers and sisters have turned to skin bleaching in a bid to be like or over take their European brothers and sisters’ complexion. We have seen the chocolate brown turn Scandinavian white and then suddenly from that glowing yellow like banana skin we see them turning to be yellow glowing bananas that have been exposed to some extreme desert heat all blistered and patched.

The products that are used come in various forms that is pills, creams and lotions, skin lightening injections, skin bleaching soaps and skin lightening supplements. Growing up pre- and post-independence era, the word Ambi was common among the women folk especially those that had been exposed to the West, as this Ambi made them lighter and it was used secretively and also by those with some status in the community.

In this yellow bone era for clarification’s sake, we are not talking about using a bit of Ambi on the neck, underarms or other dark areas here and there, but more about the kind of fervent whole body bleaching that many have adopted to change their complexion entirely. This has become, the common practice, you only have to look around at friends, co-workers, family members and random persons in the street.

Shadsim or colourism could be the ‘‘isms’’ relevant as we see people questioning their identity and race, the motive is not why people lighten their skin but instead to show the dangers associated with this practice.

Chemical bleaching can lead to serious skin and health conditions, which include permanent skin bleaching ,thinning of the skin , uneven colour loss, leading to a blotchy appearance, redness and intense irritation, dark grey spots, skin cancer, acne, increase in appetite and weight gain, osteoporosis, neurological and kidney damage due to high level of mercury used in the creams, psychiatric disorders, asthma, liver damage and severe birth defects in children born to mothers who abuse such chemicals.

There are many dangers associated with skin bleaching and dermatologists say they can only be safe when prescribed by a specialist, unfortunately many skin lightening products contain illegal compounds that can damage your health, the most common compounds being the high dose  steroids. Steroids are fine when used in correct doses but unmonitored use of high doses can lead to many problems like being distressed by the results of the skin-lightening creams.

Hydroquinone is also a chemical available in most skin lightening product. This is a bleaching agent that can also be risky to the health of the user.

To be continued . . .

-Mthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation specialist. For more information and help contact 00263772399734 or email mthae4jesus@gmail.com