Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Hate Myself (The Skin Bleaching Epidemic In Africa)

Self hatred has always run rampid in the Black community world wide. Whether we're from the carribean, Africa, Afro-Cuban or African-American, across the diaspora there has been some degree of perverse cultural conditioning.
Conditioning that sends a clear message, white is right, and anything associated with being white is not only beautiful but the standard to which everyone should be measured. This has lead to self loathing, and self hatred in epic proportions. Many have gotten a rhinoplasty or what is more commonly known as a nose job to make themselves look European, and others have gone to great lengths to change the the color of their skin, exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals and eronious treatments in an effort to destroy what God has given them whether they know it or not. The pictures that follow are so disturbing and so atrocious that I absolutely positively had to include them.

The skin bleaching epidemic is indeed a global one.  But it is becoming  more prominent on the continent of Africa.  There are various reasons people opt to lighten their skin, some do it to remove scars. Some people that bleach their skin do so because  “they don’t like their skin tone or being black” shocking, but true. 

Many in Africa have spent years fighting for freedom and equality, yet the number of people that bleach in Africa is at an all time high. It is the irony of all irony's, people fight to free themselves from their oppressors decide to recreate themselves in their image.

 Being “light skin” is often equated to being beautiful. So there is no surprise that both men and women who opt to bleach, use the most harmful products on the market to achieve this goal. According to the World Health Organization (W-H-O) Nigeria tops the list with 77% of women using skin-whitening products. Togo came in second with 59% and Senegal third at 27%. With these types of numbers, it is clear that business is booming for the companies that make these products. It also shows that it is time to ban these products like Kenya did in 2001. A lot of people that use these products don’t know the adverse effects.

Hydroquinone, the most active ingredient in bleaching creams,  inhibits the pigment-forming enzyme “tyrosinase”. It has been banned in Kenya, U.S, Europe and Japan due to the link found with cancer. It is considered to be an irritant above 4% concentration and can be an unstable ingredient in formulations of cosmetic products. Some scientists have also proposed that hydroquinone poisoning can lead to a lower IQ and verbal difficulties. Mercury is also another active ingredient in skin lightening creams. It can cause skin rashes, skin discoloration, and scaring (according to the W-H O). This particular ingredient is also used in skin-lightening soaps, which some people apply to the skin and leave to dry overnight. All in the hopes of expediting the process of skin lightening. One can’t help but wonder if skin cancer, is really worth all the money spent on bleaching products?

 Recently, Dencia a Nigerian and Cameroonian singer is also the face of the product “Whitenicious”.  Here is what the product is supposed to do for you.

“Whitenicious by Dencia” for dark spots which clears dark spots caused by anything from acne, wounds, hyper-pigmentation bruises etc… on any part of the body. It works on all skin types including sensitive skin and “Whitenicious by Dencia” for dark knuckles, knees and elbows. A lot of people suffer from hyper-pigmentation on these areas and this product clears up the pigmentation to match the rest of your skin. It can be used on all skin types and everyone from white to black.

While this product sold out within a day of  hitting the market, what it failed to mention is that its use will totally wash away all traces of  being black. If that’s what you want, surely no one can stop you from going for it, but again, I ask WHY? 
The answer is, many of us even in the year 2014 are still not comfortable in our own skin but literally and figuratively.


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