The World Health Organization (WHO) seems to believe that women in Nigeria are not particularly happy with their skin color. According to the WHO, 77 percent of women in Nigeria use skin-lightening products. This is the highest percentage in the world, according to the study. This is followed by 59 percent in Togo and 27 percent in Senegal.
The WHO report says that women use the products because they want to have “white skin.” The organization is concerned about the trend, since the products can be quite harmful to those who use them. Bleaching is not healthy for you, and can produce toxic compounds that cause various cancers in the blood, liver and kidneys. This doesn’t even count what it can do to the skin itself.
Many of the products being sold for skin-lightening also contain illegal compounds that include Mercury, which blocks the development of Melanin. This can change the color of your skin, but it can also kill you.
The study analyzes the psyches of women, who believe that those who are lighter in skin complexion are going to have more successful careers, and are also more likely to get married. But they also note that there is a bleaching trend among men as well.
As are quite a few products in Nigeria and some other countries, there isn’t strong regulation of these products on the market.
A salesperson told Al Jazeera, “About 90 percent of my clients come asking for skin whitening products,” adding “I sell it to them and give advice on what product is best for them and how to use them.”
The light/dark-skin issue is not just prevalent in Africa. In the United States, the Oprah Winfrey documentary “Dark Girls” led to a great deal of discussion across the Internet. Of particular interest were comments made by popular comedian Kevin Hart, who once referred to dark women as “broke a** dark h*oes” and said that light-skinned women have better credit. This is added to a myriad of hip-hop artists, including the rapper Lil Wayne, who’ve stated that they prefer light-skinned women to dark ones. Ironically, women are the first ones to line up to pay for tickets to their concerts.
Is there an issue here?