She is also the founder of Outer Shell Africa–Skin and Appearance Social Lab. Coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-2019), Coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19) ». Mercury in Skin Lightening Products. Birth Defects. - … The event looked into the adverse effects of these products, shared information, and discussed some of the practices, experiences as well as challenges … Even in some countries where such products have been banned, they are still advertised and available to consumers via the Internet and other means. The truth is that most users are ignorant of the damaging effect of the products on their health. The World Health Organization backs up her assertion. She is passionate about social well-being and the rights of sub-Saharan Africans living with skin conditions and visible differences. Extensive public awareness campaigns have been going on for years, led by the WHO, international NGOs, and media outlets, to educate adults on the dangers of smoking, on safe sex, on healthy eating, and on the importance of driving with a seat belt. It is probably impossible to change people’s desire for fairer skin, and their belief that they become more appealing and successful with fairer skin, but those who use these products are often not even warned of the risks through health education campaigns. In 2009 report from Global Industry Analysts declared skin-lightening a $10 billion industry; the organization also projects that the number would hit $23 billion by 2020. Melanin, a pigment found … According to, World Health Organization, the skin bleaching industry has grown into a billion-dollar international industry for the past few decades. Dr Kamuri notes that the allure of the young women who desire to transform their skin from dark- to light-skinned is increasingly worrying. Dangerous skin-care treatments can be life-threatening, and skin health deserves our urgent attention. This West African country is followed by Togo with 59%, South Africa with 35%, Senegal with 27% and Mali with 25%. The World Health Organization published an assessment on skin bleaching in 2011, which stated that 77 percent of Nigerians use skin-lightening products—the highest proportion in the world. In India, for example, the skin lightening industry Routine skin whitener use ranges from 25% in Mali to 77% in Nigeria, and it's 40% in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea, according to the World Health Organization. What we need is a grass-roots campaign with a strong call to action. Skin lightening cosmetics include bleaching creams, soaps, and pills that contain compounds designed to inhibit melanin production and thereby lighten skin. Is There a Dark Side to Arctic Cooperation? Mercury can be eliminated from skin lightening products by working with health and environmental ministries and raising public awareness about the dangers to health from mercury and other hazardous chemicals (such as hydroquinone) in skin lightening products. In 2011, the World Health Organization published an assessment on skin bleaching in 2011, which showed that 77 percent of Nigerians use skin-lightening products—the highest proportion in the world. And many skin whiteners are associated with proven skin damage or other health risks. Call it whatever name you wish: skin lightening, skin whitening, skin brightening, skin fading; if you like, hide under the guise of “skin toning”; skin bleaching is not a wise decision! Even when they know the risks, there is always someone around to assure them that they’ve been using these substances for years with no issues. Even in some countries where such products have been banned, they are still advertised and available to consumers via the Internet and other means. Skin lightening — also called skin whitening or skin bleaching — is the practice of using cosmetics to either reduce the appearance of age spots and/or discoloration or to change one’s natural complexion. Mercury-containing skin lightening products are hazardous to health and as a result have been banned in many countries. Skin bleaching is a common thing in Nigeria, so much so that Nigeria has been declared the World capital of skin bleaching. May 16, 2020 - World Health Organization (2011). The dangers are particularly acute in Africa as users mix together multiple products in an attempt achieve faster results, including hazardous caustic agents (such as automotive battery acid, washing power, toothpaste, cloth bleaching agents, or lemon) that contain high levels of mercury, increasing the risk of severe health problems. The UNEP Global Mercury Partnership and its Area of work on Mercury in Products, in cooperation with the World Health Organization, organized on 30 November 2020 a webinar to focus on the issue of mercury in skin lightening products. All African countries should take strict measures to keep out these products, and safer brands of skin-bleaching products should be offered—and at affordable prizes—in the way free condoms are made available for people to protect themselves during sex. Other effects include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and peripheral neuropathy. 2 Although skin bleaching products are hazardous to one’s health and banned in many countries, these products are available for sale over the internet, providing unlimited access to potential customers. Hydroquinone was first used in the 30s, but the skin-bleaching industry is booming today, as products are manufactured in and imported from Asia. Christopher Tufton (centre); Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Vitiligo is a long-term condition that causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin—in severe cases these cover the whole body. A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report said that 77% of Nigerians use skin lightening products on a regular basis. According to NHS guidelines, any product claiming to lighten skin or contain ingredients such as steroids or hydroquinone must be prescribed by a doctor, as well as staying in close contact with your doctor throughout treatment. In Africa, the World Health Organization claims that Nigeria has the highest percentage of women using skin toning products with reported 77% of women engaging in the practice [ 8 ]. When autocomplete results are available use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. In 2017, the global skin-lightening industry was worth $4.8bn (£3.4bn), despite the World Health Organisation classing the practice as a global health crisis. It’s estimated to be worth $31.2 billion U.S. by 2024. In some countries the figure is higher: a … In response, the East … Working on the Vitiligo cause showed me how neglected and underestimated skin health, visible differences, and psychosocial challenges are in Africa. Mercury, the active ingredient in most bleaching creams and soaps, is banned in most African nations, including Nigeria, yet these products still find their way into shops and homes across the continent. I do not encourage skin whitening or bleaching; I educate people about the dangers of these practices and work on generating public awareness. Addressing this problem should be made a priority for the WHO and for ministries of health across Africa and beyond. The fact that a rising number of people are bleaching their skin, destroying their melanin and exposing themselves to health risks, indicates a failure of public-health outreach. According to the WHO, the main adverse effect of the inorganic mercury contained in skin lightening soaps and creams is kidney damage, but the chemical may also cause skin rashes, skin discoloration, and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections. Statistics compiled by the World Health Organisation in 2011 showed that 40% of African women bleach their skin. Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Hydroquinone and products containing hydroquinone are used in cosmetics and medical skin preparations as a depigmentation agent to lighten small areas of hyperpigmented skin and to treat various other disorders of pigmentation. They are advertised openly on billboards, television, and social media. But this leaves the dangers of harmful skin-bleaching treatments—which are ubiquitous in Nigeria, across Africa, and among dark-skinned individuals around the world—largely unrecognized. Almost every skin lotion, bath soap and bath gel contain some form of skin whitening agent. Why would anyone want to make skin bleaching look like a political issue?’ she asked. Within three weeks, sales surpassed 15,000 units. Given the hazards associated with the use of these products, skin bleaching must be recognized as an urgent public-health concern. My experience founding and working for more than eight years with Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VITSAF) inspired Outer Shell Africa. “As an organization, we are extremely concerned by the inflow of skin lightening products on the Zambian market including products for permanent skin lightening which are being sold on line such as serums, pills and injections because these products may contain mercury and hydroquinone which the World Health Organization has indicated as being harmful to health,” Ms Kearns said. Skin whitening is big business across Africa; one skin-whitening product called Whitenicious, which claims to use all natural products, launched by Nigerian-Cameroonian pop musician Reprudencia Sonkey (known by her stage name, Dencia), sold out almost immediately after its release. WORLD health chiefs are cracking down on "dangerous" myths circulating as the deadly coronavirus outbreak continues it's spread. WHO's primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations' system and to lead partners in global health responses. Popular apps and … Skin bleaching side effects is simply defined as all the ways bleaching destroys your skin and health. The skin-bleaching products flooding Nigerian markets must be actively and thoroughly checked by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and Nigerian customs officials to ensure that the dangerous ones are not smuggled in—banned should mean banned. In Nigeria, individuals often bear the costs of their own health care, and are often ignorant of the health implications of their personal behavior. • The skin lightening industry is one of the fastest growing beauty industries worldwide and is estimated to be worth US$ 31.2 billion by 2024 (14). Ogo Maduewesi is an Ashoka fellow/Making More Health fellow, social entrepreneur, and writer. The World Health Organization has released statistics of countries that bleach and Nigeria has again topped the chart as the nation with the highest consumption of bleaching products. People thus turn to self-treatment and self-medication, substandard medications, and whatever chemicals and herbs are readily available. These efforts have not tried to stop people from having sex, smoking, not exercising, or eating junk, but have focused on providing assistance. A study or a WHO statement may attract readers and researchers, but it does not make much difference on the ground. At Outer Shell Africa, we use digital storytelling and other creative tools to emphasize “social wellness and social inclusion” for people living with these conditions. Vitiligo affects one in every hundred people and can strike anyone at any time, and can lead to depression and social isolation. When there is no public education campaign or when such a campaign fails, people are left to look after their health without reliable guidance. Do we have to wait until more harm is done before we act? Outer Shell Africa–Skin and Appearance Social Lab, Why the Kremlin is Waltzing over “Matilda”. “As an organization, we are extremely concerned by the inflow of skin lightening products on the Zambian market including products for permanent skin lightening which are being sold on line such as serums, pills and injections because these products may contain mercury and hydroquinone which the World Health Organization has indicated as being harmful to health,” Ms Kearns said. 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