Skin

02 November 2016

Black skin no longer beautiful in Vhembe

In parts of South Africa, young black women are buying potentially dangerous skin bleaching products to 'look more beautiful'.

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Mothers in Vhembe, Limpopo are crying for help because their children – particularly young girls – are using skin bleaching products.

The easy-availability of illegal skin bleaching products in Thohoyandou has seen many young girls buy them to make their dark skins lighter. The mothers are blaming the local shop owners for selling products which they know are harmful to the skin and might cause permanent damage.

Read: Warning about toxic face creams in Cape Town

'Lighter skin is more beautiful'

“We grew up with the saying that ‘black is beautiful’, but the youth of today seem not to have faith in that belief, choosing to regard lighter skin as more attractive and beautiful. And so they use all those dangerous skin bleaching products to turn themselves into yellow bones (light skinned),” said Tshilidzi Mulaudzi, a mother of three.

Some of the most popular skin bleaching brands being used in Vhembe include Extra Clair Lightening Cream, Caro Light, Cuticura Antiseptic Ointment, Motivate Complexion Lotion, Top Complexion Cream, Tenovate Cream and Epiderm Cream.

“Something needs to be done urgently to warn our youth against the use of all these products before it is too late. If we do not fight against the use of this products before 2020 almost all our children will be suffering from skin cancer,” said Mulaudzi.

”These days I can hardly recognise my daughter because of the creams (she is using. She is now light-skinned on her face, but the skin on her legs is still dark. These products are ruining the lives of our children. We try to warn them about the use of those products, but they do not listen. All they want is to be light skinned,” said Mavis Mafune, whose first-born daughter has been using skin bleaching products for a long period of time.

Read: Beware skin lighteners

Permanent skin damage

Professional nurse Irene Sithole agreed with the views of the worried parents, and warned the youth to stop using illegal skin bleaching products, confirming that they are dangerous and may lead to lasting skin damage.

“There several health risks associated with the use of skin bleaching products. Side effects include flaking, redness and itching, as the products are usually applied to sensitive areas like the face,” said Sithole.

She added: “For some, the use of those products may lead to chest pains, swelling of the skin, breathing difficulties and even skin cancer.” – Health-e News.

Read more:

Backdoor bleaching

Skin Bleach

Pigmented skin

Health-e News is South Africa’s award-winning dedicated health news service producing news and in-depth analysis for the country’s print and television media.

 

Ask the Expert

Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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