Skin bleaching refers to the practice of using chemical substances in an effort to make the skin appear lighter. In Africa, 25% - 80% of women use skin-bleaching products, and in Asia this number is around 40%. Skin-bleaching is a worldwide trend but has particularly impacted West African countries. A recent study found that about 77% of Nigerian women use skin- bleaching products. These products contain toxins such as mercury, hydroquinone, and steroids. Skin-bleaching has been associated with adverse health effects such as skin cancers, kidney disease, and severe skin damage. Several studies have examined why people use skin bleaching products and the negative health effects associated with long-term use. In many of the countries where skin-bleaching usage is high, advertisements promoting bleaching products are heavily broadcast through commercials and social media. This rapid-systematic review examines the negative health effects associated with skin-bleaching in West African countries, while tracing the history of skin bleaching. In this rapid review, 15 articles were fully assessed. These 15 articles were placed in 4 different categories; (1) motivational factors of skin bleaching, (2) physical components, (3) adverse health effects, (4) interventions. The results of this review shows that often, people who utilize skin bleaching products underestimates the negative health effects associated with it. One effective way to reduce the purchase and use of skin bleaching products would be through a social media campaign. A social media campaign could utilize the application WhatsApp, with the goal of educating the population on the risk associated with skin bleaching products.
Recommended CitationNdoye, Thioro, "What Are the Negative Health Effects Associated with Skin Bleaching in West African Countries?" (2020). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 359.