Skin toning or bleaching is widespread in most parts of Africa, due to unfettered access to various brands of bleaching creams, often blamed on the continent’s lax regulations. Beauty standards often promoted by the media and advertising agencies and companies, have reinforced the bias that lighter skin tone is more desirable, for men and women especially of color to bleach.
What drives the decision to alter the skin varies for each individual, both men and women engage in the act because of varying factors such as insecurities, peer influence or the mere desire to move upward in their social circles. Skin bleaching products are reported to contain chemicals or ingredients that prevent melanin, the body chemical that darkens the skin, one of such ingredients is the hydroquinone, a dipigmenting agent used to lighten the skin. This and other chemicals such as the corticosteroid reduces skin thickness and cause epidermis disruption.
In his view, Mr. Yaw Agyei-Henaku, a Senior Manager, Quality Assurance-United States Pharmacopoeia Ghana said, “how your body produces melanin, is its natural way of protecting the skin, bleaching can be beneficial but abuse can be dangerous to your health” he continued to add that “as men we like the fair colored ladies but dark ladies also marry, o why do we all want to lighten our skin?, we need to accept ourselves. Excessive use of these chemicals to get that glow is very harmful. Bleaching is like walking around with an open wound so my ladies, Black is Beautiful, lets stay away from bleaching”.
Mr. Henaku was speaking at a webinar event organized by I Believe Global Women Empowerment Foundation on the theme; Advancing Sustainable Consumption in Households. A broad spectrum initiative aimed to achieve the sound management of household food consumption, chemicals and waste- a vital to biological and socio economic aspects aspects of womens lives towards the achievement of the 2030 SDGs 5.
Since women are the pivot of the home, and currently are the highest consumers of good and services, Mr. Heanku used the platform to call for a collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority, the Ghana Standards Board, the Ministry of Gender and other stakeholders to play a key role in empowering our ladies especially the younger ones on these. Though he lauded the regulatory agencies i.e; the FDA for doing the best they can, he stressed that more work needed to be done as this is fast becoming a money-making venture for some people.
Story By Yorm || Nyatefe Radio
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