By Tijjani Muhammad Nura
Bleaching has been in practice for a long time worldwide. However, it doesn’t specifically side with one gender, although women are more than men. Nonetheless, in a report referred to by the World Health Organisation in 2016, Nigeria was reported as the country with the highest number of women that bleach their skin in the whole of Africa.
While there is no reliable data to confirm which state bleaches the most in northern Nigeria, we cannot deny that Kaduna, Abuja, Taraba, and, most importantly, Kano will top the list in Nigeria. In addition, a few Nigerians are naturally light-skinned, while some are naturally raven. To this end, bleaching is more prevalent among women than among men.
In (northern) Nigeria’s meaning of the word “bleaching,” it’s a process where people apply skin-lightened products to their skins, regardless of the route through which they are administered, intending to change their complexion or skin colour to impress or comfort themselves. From most people’s viewpoints, this bleaching as a thing is influenced by the victims’ desire to impress and attract attention to their opposite gender, from women to men and men to women.
Bleaching products are available in different forms, and some come in the form of creams, oils, serums, and lotions. It still comes in tablets, and some bleaching products are also available in injectable form. The lightening creams encompass a broader spectrum of products designed to bleach and lighten the skin. The effect occurs by targeting cells producing melanin, thereby reducing its functions. The majority of the creams are made available to treat abnormal conditions like acne scars on the skin, not for bleaching the skin.
However, many users are ignorant of the damaging effects of the products on their health. They are dangerous to their skin and a threat to their health in general by affecting the functions of the kidney, liver, and immune system because they work by reducing a pigment called melanin in the skin.
Most bleaching products have an active ingredient called mercury, making them more dangerous because mercury is a toxic agent that can cause serious psychiatric, neurological, and kidney problems. In addition, pregnant women who use a skin lightener with mercury can pass it to their unborn children.
Nonetheless, there are several healthy ways to maintain healthy skin. And that includes avoiding using bleaching creams, using baby’s soap that does not damage the skin, using moisturizing creams during the harmattan seasons. Other ways involve applying sun creams that can boost skin protection from the sunny sun, drinking enough water daily, eating well-balanced food in its diet, and stopping applying perfumes to the skin. These, among others, would help maintain good, healthy, and super bright skin.
With all the above being said, this article aims to notify people about the dangers associated with using creams or any other bleaching products to bleach the body, especially the facial skin. It, therefore, aims at calling the attention of parents to caution their children to avoid it or order them to immediately stop using it if they have already started using it.
Tijjani Muhammad Nura holds a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology. He writes from the Hardawa district of Bauchi State and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.