Now, let’s address this elephant in the room: skin bleaching! Ladies, let’s be honest, most of us have dabbled with a product or two, supposedly intended to help us “shine” or give us that “glow”. Whether we want to ‘fess up about it or not and no matter what fancy name we choose to call it, the bottom line is, it is skin whitening! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fault anyone who tries to enhance the colour of their skin in any way. Heck, we use weaves and wigs all the time as opposed to our natural hair. What’s more, we wear makeup and lipstick as opposed to leaving our faces bare. So, by all means, to each, their own, I’m not judging!
Skin bleaching products banned in Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Rwanda
However, some governments don’t think that skin bleaching should be tolerated. In fact, in 2017 Ghana banned skin whitening products while in 2015 Ivory Coast did same. Recently in November 2018, Rwanda too placed a ban on all skin bleaching products. Since then, the Rwandan government has been sending officials across the country to enforce its ban particularly on skin bleaching products that contain hydroquinone. Today, Rwandan police have seized more than 5,000 banned products from beauty shops across the country.
The power of social media
You might find this unbelievable but Rwanda’s ban stems from a social media post by a woman calling on the government to crack down on skin bleaching. Guess who responded to that post? The Rwandan president himself, Paul Kagame. Talk about the power of social media! Now, I don’t know about you, but is it really worth a government’s time to invest money and resources on cracking down on vendors of skin bleaching products??? Hmmm…
Need a business idea? Try selling skin bleaching products
Meanwhile, not long ago, American reality TV Star Blac Chyna, partnered with Cameroonian-born Dencia’s Whitenicious, to launch a face cream in Lagos, Nigeria. The face cream, called Diamond Illuminating Lightening Cream is part of the Whitenicious X Black Chyna Collection. According to the description, the moisturizer which is made for “all skin types”, aims to reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Guess how much it costs? A whopping $250. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though. According to analysts, the global market for skin-lighteners is projected to reach $31.2 billion by 2024, up from $17.9 billion in 2017, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
77% of women in Nigeria regularly use skin bleaching products
Some of you might ask why Dencia and Blac Chyna chose Nigeria to launch the face cream. Well, let me give you some scoops. According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011, around 25% of women in Mali, 59% in Togo and … wait for it, 77% of women in Nigeria regularly use skin bleaching products. My Naija peeps, please don’t be mad at me o. No be me tok am. Na WHO tok am!