Nigerian spars and skin whitening centers are taking skin bleaching to a dangerous level with the introduction of deadly instant peeling and whitening products with far-reaching and deadly health complications. According to one estimate, more than 70 million people in Nigeria use skin-lightening products regularly, making Africa’s most populous country capital for skin bleaching. This new method as seen in a video shared online involves a complete dip in a chemical inside a bathtub accompanied by instant scrapping of the upper layer of the skin similar to what hot oil does to the skin.
While other skin-lightening procedures work by reducing the concentration or production of melanin in the skin (melanin is the pigment that gives skin its colour and helps protect it from the sun), this one removes the upper protective layer of the skin (epidermis) entirely completely exposing you to the full wrath of the sun, infections, loss of body fluid and even death.
Why your body needs melanin?
Skin cells called melanocytes produce melanin in the body. Melanin also acts as a kind of natural sunscreen to protect against harmful UV rays, however, it cannot prevent sunburn all on its own. The more melanin you have in your body, the more protection you have against the sun. Melanin is deposited near the surface of the skin. It absorbs dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sun, working as a protective barrier to prevent the UV light from travelling deeper into the skin. Ultraviolet light can cause DNA damage in cells and skin cancer, so melanin is an extremely important molecule.
Bleaching completely destroys the amount of melanin in our skin making it more vulnerable and making those without it more susceptible to ailments such as skin cancer.
Public health officials are warning that over-the-counter skin-lightening products are “like paint strippers,” according to a new public health alert. These so-called beauty products increase the risk of cancer and organ damage and “should be avoided at all costs”. Some products also contain mercury, a known toxin linked to bacterial and fungal infections, liver damage, anxiety, depression, and psychosis, according to the World Health Organization.
The new killer method of bleaching in Nigeria which costs =N= 30,000 is more like a one-way ticket to an early grave and must be avoided by all discerning minds. Public Health Nigeria as an organization focused on health education, advancing fair public health policies, responsible behavior and community health calls on all Nigerians especially women who might be tempted to try this suicidal bleaching method, to avoid these practices like a plague.
We also call on the authorities, NAFDAC, and other relevant health agencies to swiftly move to arrest this dangerous trend before families start throwing children into these baths in the name of white skin. WATCH VIDEO BELOW