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What’s With The Noxious Obsession With Skin Lightening?

What’s With The Noxious Obsession With Skin Lightening?


Nigerians’ obsession with skin lightening agents a.k.a bleaching cream is well documented. In April of 2013, Nigeria was reported as being the nation with the world’s highest percentage of women using skin lightening agents according to Aljazeera news. But how safe are these skin lightening creams?

In fact, it’s become a prolific business, that even popular OAP and author, Toke Makinwa took to Instagram to announce her latest venture – ‘Glow By TM’. Toke is not the only celebrity to have ventured this path as Cameroonian artiste Dencia launched “whitenicious” in 2014, and it quickly became the beauty industry’s most polarizing product. This is because many were stunned that skin “whitening” was again being boldly promoted and this time by a young African woman.


These days, a lot of women are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a lighter skin complexion. What’s terrifying is that you oftentimes see women look more like aliens in extreme cases of bleaching gone wrong!

According to various reports, when interviewed, ladies reveal varying reasons why they bleach their skin. Some say it makes them look beautiful, others say it makes them less timid and more confident and sadly a lot of women think a fairer skin could be their ticket to a better life. how safe are these skin lightening creams

Adverse effects of skin lightening creams

Although women are known as the usual culprits, surprisingly, even men are becoming prominent users. It’s unfortunate that the need to look light skin has made people willing to ignore the various possible health consequences. Such health issues as blood cancer (leukemia) and cancers of the liver and kidneys as well as several other skin conditions have been linked with skin bleaching/lightening.

Singer, Dencia

Our black skin color is rich in melanin which provides some protection against skin damage from such sources as the sun. The more you bleach or tone your skin the more you deplete the melanin content in your skin, making you more prone to skin disease.

The way I see it, while people have the right to manipulate their looks to what they believe is ideal, the decision to alter your complexion comes from a deep place of inferiority complex brought on by years of black people being made to believe that being fairer is better. Black is beautiful and this goes without saying! We must all learn to accept the beauty of our rich complexion and love the skin we’re in. After all, there’s way more to beauty than meets the eye.

So let’s hear it. What are your thoughts about bleaching cream or skin toner as some conveniently choose to call it?

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