by Rita Oziegbe
Growing up as a child, I disliked a neighbor who had a young wife. My reason was because he was a bad man to have hit his wife in the face so hard as to give her those dark patches by the side of both eyes that wouldn’t just go. I remember those patches now as an adult as I see them on other faces…don’t think I am naive as to think that they were also caused by the beatings these individuals have received. I was a child then, now I know better that those big dark patches are the effects of the constant use of bleaching creams. Sometimes I begin to wonder if aliens have not invaded our earth because we now have a lot of people with a rainbow skin:- white face with dark patches, red, yellow, green, purple, blue veins all visible on their body and especially on their faces.
Now let’s see; what is skin beaching, what are some of its effect and the contents we should look out for when we go out there to buy body creams/lotions? Skin bleaching is the practice of using chemicals substances in order to lighten skin tone or produce an even skin complexion by reducing the melanin concentration in the skin. What is melanin, you say?... Melanin is a substance in the skin that causes pigmentation. It helps in the absorption of some of the dangerous ultraviolet radiation (UV) in sunlight. It also has DNA repair enzymes that helps in reversing UV damage, therefore people who lack the genes for these enzymes suffer very high rate of skin cancer.
Many people tend to forget or may not know that the skin is the largest organ in human system and plays an important role in protecting the body against pathogens and excess loss of water. Other functions include; insulation, temperature regulation, synthesis of vitamin D, the protection of vitamin B foliate and sensation. In their desire to look like the whites who in many ways want to look like them by tanning, they damage their skin by using all sorts of chemical, some even go as far as mixing hair relaxers and hypo bleach into their body creams. Don’t scream, it’s the truth... Everyone wants to look like “oyibo” forgetting that as Africans, God in His wisdom knows what He is doing. We want to outsmart Him, but we surely will pay the price.
The effects of skin bleaching are dangerous and cannot be overlooked. For those of us who still want to look the way God made us and not like ghosts, do not buy any body cream containing hydroquinone and if you must use them, it should not be above 2%. Also look out for arbutin which is a natural source of the later, kojic acid which scientist say may have carcinogenic properties in large doses and causes allergic contact dermatitis, mercury, ellagic acid, ferulic acid, licorice extract and certain fruit extract that bleaches the skin. In a nutshell dear friends, stay NATURAL, stay BEAUTIFUL, stay HEALTHY and stay ALIVE!!!