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Your Skin - Why You Should Never Take It For Granted - Part I

Black Skin is Beautiful
Photo by William Stitt from Unsplash

How do you perform skin care?

Have you a routine or only bother when something goes wrong?

The skin is the largest organ in the body and its main function is to protect the body from harm.

The skin contains melanin, a natural hormone, which gives an individual his/her complexion.

The greater the amount of melanin in the skin, the darker the colour of the skin.

In promoting skin care, some people associate lighter skin colour with beauty and success.

Evidence for abuse in Skin Care

This erroneous belief that lighter skin complexion is more appealing misleads a lot of people who then engage in various practices to lighten their skin colour.

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2011, showed that about 77% of Nigerians use skin lightening products (creams, lotions or soaps).

Most times, skin lightening is associated with women but men also engage in this practice.

In 2004, a survey done at the LASUTH skin clinic on patients above the age of 16 years revealed that:

  • 92% of female patients and 5% of male patients admitted to having used skin creams containing hydroquinone and other skin-depigmenting agents in the past.
  • Up to 40% of the female patients and 2% of the male patients currently used the products.

Pensive little one, free of acne

Some women have reportedly tried these creams on their babies. This is dangerous and could potentially lead to kidney damage or death of the child.

Earlier this year, Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority condemned the use of Glutathione-containing pills by pregnant women to lighten the skin of their unborn babies as this has led to a rise in the number of babies born with birth defects.

Although some people try to lighten their skin on purpose, others might have done so unintentionally because a lot of skin products sold in beauty shops in Nigeria contain active ingredients that have been proven to lighten the skin.

smooth skin side image of a young african lady with glowing skin and coal black shiny hair

Harmful Skin Care Chemicals

Examples of such chemicals are Hydroquinone, Mercury and Corticosteroids.

These harmful chemicals, especially Hydroquinone and Mercury act by destroying the integrity of the skin.

This happens because they act on the enzymes responsible for the production of Melanin, thereby reducing its amount in the skin.

In addition, common steroids used in skin lightening products are Clobetasol Propionate and Betamethasone.

These steroids narrow blood vessels thus reducing blood supply to the area, hence, the create a lighter appearance of the skin.

It is necessary to look out for these chemicals while shopping for skin care products.

Some manufacturers put up synonyms of Hydroquinone to camouflage their products.

In the next segment of this article, we will look at the synonyms and analyse further the effects of these harmful chemicals on the skin.

We are always happy to hear comments so please drop a line below or contact us directly if you need any more advise specific to your needs.

Stay Well and see you again in our next post!

About the Author - Fisayo Aturamu.

Blogger Fisayo Aturanmu

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Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through   

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