IT’S sometimes said beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but today beauty is the eyes of the sufferer of Body Dimorphic Disorder (BDD)!
The term might be new to many but it exists and involves processes of trying to “correct” appearance flaws using cosmetic surgeries or creams.
At present the world skin lightening market stands at $10 billion, making it a very lucrative business for producers and suppliers.
Different cosmetic surgeries such as lip reduction, tummy reduction, botox injections are not being explored in the country because of the high costs.
A facelift costs $10 000 in South Africa while in India it sets one off by $3 000. Because of the high costs, many Zimbabweans rely on skin lightening creams to achieve that “flawless” look.
For this reason, skin lightening has managed to boom albeit illegally in Zimbabwe.
Marlene Ndlovu — a user of skin lightening creams told B-Metro that she uses them to reduce acne and marks on her face because vanishing creams either take too long to reduce marks and scars or they just don’t do the job.
“I purchase these products to cover up my marks. I use these creams but I don’t think I have a disorder because all I want is to even out my skin tone and after that is done I will discontinue usage,” said Ndlovu.
She claims to be using them on an average of twice a year. Each period of use lasts between two to three weeks.
The brands that sell on the streets are mostly Betasol, Carolite and Deproson for as low as $2.
For the well off, there are products that contain glutathione — capable of preventing damage to important cellular components on one’s skin. They retail for as much as $271 for an injection.
The injection is a hit in South Africa, celebrities Khanyi Mbau and Mshoza’s complexions are a result of glutathione.
A supplier (name withheld) based in South Africa opened up to B-Metro about his business.
“In stock I have permanent skin lightening injections that bleach the whole body and remove dark spots, stretch marks and pimples, giving you perfectly flawless skin and this costs about R3 200 ($271) but I also supply a combination of pills and creams which cost R1 600 ($136), ” he said.
The supplier revealed that the products are usually sent to clients outside South Africa through courier services or any postal service.
“I used postal services such as (name supplied) to deliver the products to my clients in Zimbabwe and it takes 50 hours for the products to be delivered. Demand is steadily rising with four or five orders coming in every week. These orders do not include my local orders in South Africa, I also provide different services such as permanent herbal penis enlarging creams and pills that will best suit my client,” he continued.
If you have ever watched an episode of Botched you will know that cosmetic surgery has damning results if lady luck is not on your side. However, the supplier maintained that his products are safe.
“The products I provide are 100 percent safe with no side effects and I guarantee satisfaction,” he said.
Skin lightening is a continuous procedure and according to an article on News24 a person needs 16 doses to get full results meaning one will have to part with R 51 200($4 340) just to find that flawless look — money enough to buy a used car.
Is Zimbabwe ready to embrace cosmetic surgeries or will it lag behind as it appears nowhere on the rankings of countries offering these procedures?