By Tumininu Ojelabi Hassan
The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has warned Nigerians against the use of bleaching cream, stating that it poses severe damage to the body and injurious to health.
She disclosed this at a recent Media sensitisation workshop on dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory control held in Jos, Rivers, Ibadan, Kano and Enugu.
According to her, the effects of bleaching creams include damage to vital organs in the body, cancer, skin irritation and allergy, skin burns and rashes, prolonged healing of injuries and premature skin ageing.
According to the agency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2018 Study revealed that the use of skin bleaching creams was prevalent among 77% of Nigerian women, which was the highest in Africa compared to 59% of women in Togo, 35% in South Africa and 27% of women in Senegal.
“This scary statistic has shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national emergency that requires a multifaceted approach. Part of the multi-pronged approach are consultative and sensitisation meetings, such as this one going on here and carrying out of raids on distribution outlets,” she said.
“In addition to those, NAFDAC will also take some other regulatory actions with respect to stemming the tide of the use of cosmetics and bleaching creams that are harmful and injurious to health,” she added.
Dr. Johnson in an interview with our correspondent disclosed that bleaching creams affect the vital organs in the body.
“Bleaching cream has dangerous effects on the body. It affects the kidney, liver and other organs in the body. This is because it contains harmful ingredients like Hydroquinone, Kojic acid, Dioxane, Lead, Mercury, Formaldehyde, Diethanolamine, Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene. These ingredients have deteriorating effects on the body, which can lead to chronic kidney disease, liver damage and even cancer.
“Some of the ingredients of these creams are absorbed and get into the bloodstream, the blood transports them to various organs in the body which leads to enormous danger. It can result in the excessive leaking of protein in the urine called Nephrotic syndrome which can eventually lead to kidney failure. Asides the aforementioned effects it also leads to severe birth defects due to continuous use of bleaching cream in pregnancy,” he explained.
He spoke further on the increasing rate of bleaching cream users and organic cream brands in the country.
“It’s appalling how organic cream brands are everywhere now, unfortunately most of these users do not know the adverse effects of bleaching cream. How do you purchase a cream that lightens you in seven days and expect it not to have a fatal damage on the body. The number of chronic kidney disease and liver damage cases we have now is a cause for concern, it’s unfortunate that these cases will increase tremendously in the next few years if bleaching creams and soaps aren’t banned in the country,” he revealed.
In addition, He spoke on the common symptoms of kidney disease and liver damage as a result of bleaching cream.
“The obvious symptom of a chronic kidney disease and liver damage is the swelling of feet and face, other symptoms include Osteoporosis, fatigue, discoloration of the skin and nails amongst others,” he stated.
Our correspondent approached an organic cream vendor at her store in Tejuosho Yaba and made enquiries about the organic cream and soap in her store. She disclosed that she produced these creams herself after training in a cosmetics industry.
“I produced these creams and soaps myself. The price of everything in this store differs. The whitening set is the most expensive due to its high demand from ladies. It costs N74,000 only and I can assure you that it will work perfectly. You will start noticing changes within five days of use,” she said persuasively.
However, the seller (name withheld) refused to disclose the ingredients of these creams claiming that she has unique ingredients for her products.
While our correspondent was in the store, two ladies walked in and one of them requested for a lightening cream complaining that her skin was too dark and she needed a cream to brighten her skin tone. She got the Glowing kit, which amounted to N60,000.
Based on BH findings, most of women, who bleach suffer from low self esteem as a result of hurtful comments from people about their dark skin tone. These people resorted to bleaching their skins to regain their self confidence daring the consequences.
According to Catherine, a middle aged lady, who spoke with our correspondent, she started using skin lightening cream because she felt her dark skin made her less attractive.
“When I was dark, I felt I was ugly but since I started using lightening cream, it has boosted my self confidence. I get more compliments from people, especially men unlike before when I was dark,” she said.
Futhermore, Prof. Adeyeye urged Nigerian women to be proud of their skin colour saying “There is no need to bleach”
She affirmed that the sensitisation workshop was an actualization of her aim to reach six geopolitical zones in the country as an intentional strategy of mobilising, educating, sensitising and challenging Nigerian Health journalists to play salient role in their collaborative efforts to halt the menace of bleaching creams, unnecessary waste of scarce resources in the country and to safeguard the health of Nigerians.