Devastating effects of skin bleaching
Despite many harmful risks that come with bleaching the skin, people are obsessed with over the count bleaching products which cause more harm than good.
With celebrities like Mshoza who publicly came out to using skin bleaching products and going to extreme measures to look lighter or what popularly known as ‘yellow bone’.
Ordinary South Africans are also trying out different skin bleaching products, which in most cases are extremely dangerous for the skin. A recent report by the World Health Organisation disclosed that 35% of South Africans use skin lightening products, in comparison with 77% of Nigerians and 61% of Indians.
The downside of using over the counter products for skin bleaching or lighting is, they should not be discontinued once started in order to maintain the whiteness of the skin, however, constant use of skin lightening products has now proven to cause cell mutation and damage due to the absorption by the skin. These products also cause the production of free radical cells in your body that causes cancer.
25-year-old beauty consultant, Nontokozo Dlamini, was addicted to skin lightning products at an early age of 16 because of bullying she endured when high school started.
“I was always the darkest girl in school and people would often call me names such as midnight, ntomb’emnyama (black girl in English), or black cat, I was called so many names that I began to resent going to school. A girl from my neighbourhood told me about a cream that she was using to lighten her skin and said maybe I should try it out, and I did. After a few weeks of using this cream I could see my skin was getting lighter and even people started noticing that I was lighter,” Said Dlamini.
Without realising that was the beginning of Nontokozo’s nightmare.
“The more I would get lighter the more different products I would use. The kids weren’t so mean to me like they were before, so I just kept on using different over the counter products. I used the products until my skin could not get any lighter but I just kept on using. This one day it was really hot outside and my friends decided to go to the beach, worst mistake of my life. I got severe sunburn that I had to be hospitalised. When I got to the hospital I was asked what I was using on my skin, I told the doctor my story. That is when the doctor told me I was in the brink of getting skin cancer should I not discontinue using the skin lightning products. He said the amount of damage the creams have caused, I was lucky I did not have cancer,” Said Dlamini.
She added that there are recommended and safe skin lightning products, and one should see a dermatologist should they be interested.