The search for beauty has led many African women (and increasingly men) to use skin lightening products. A recent study from the University of Cape Town, show that one in three African women use bleaching products to lighten their skin. In addition to the implied sociological ills that the practice implies, bleaching products often create significant medical complications. Dermatologists see many patients suffering from diseases caused by a combination of use of the lightening products and sunlight, which is plentiful in Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of the dangers of some skin lightening products. Those that contain mercury (a common ingredient in lightening creams) have harmful effects – and can even lead to kidney damage. Other side effects can include “skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.”

What are your thought?