“That which makes a younger lady bleach,” was the response of a 57-year-old woman in a chat with our reporter.?

Madam Sibe as she’s fondly called is known for her heavy make-ups and exotic dresses but one things baffles her neighbours and on-lookers. She still bleaches at her age.?

Continuing, she said, “Anyway, I’ve to look good and to spice it up, I have to top up my cream.”

Little did she know that, a test of common skin lightening creams available in Nigeria showed that they caused mutations in bacteria and were possibly carcinogenic.

Madam Sibe will stop at nothing to get her bleaching cream that brings her into the spotlight, she would take het time to apply her cream on every part of her body.?

She is one of the 77 per cent of women in Nigeria using skin-lightening products, the world?s highest percentage. That compares with 59 percent in Togo, and 27 percent in Senegal, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).?

Selling cosmetics is a booming business in Lagos State especially when it comes to skin-lightening creams.?

Ijeoma Eze who works at God First Cosmetic shop, said, “bleaching creams sell these days and we have varieties almost every day. I’m not an expert on cream but by the time people come here , especially ladies, to ask for a particular cream or soap often, I know it’s to bleach and so, I recommend it for others too who come looking for bleaching cream or soap and they say, it works.”?

Ijeoma said, most of these soaps and cream are not costly, “anyone can easily buy them.”?

Skin bleaching has health hazards. Most creams are a dangerous cocktail of compounds like steroids, hydroquinone, and tretinoin; the long term use of which can lead to lethal health concerns likes permanent pigmentation, skin cancer, liver damage, mercury poisoning and others.

Many long term users of skin bleaching creams end up with having a difficult-to-treat condition called refractory pigmentation.

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