Skin Bleaching and its Effects

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Thanks to colorism and perceived discrimination of dark-skinned women, especially in terms of beauty, bleaching and skin lightening have become a norm.

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How dark a person is, is normally determined by the melanin produced within the skin in cells called melanocytes. Genetics equally plays a great role in determining a person’s complexion.

Also, in basic Geography, we learn about the equator and how regions closer to the equator are hotter than regions far from it.  Areas closer to the equator tend to receive higher amounts of UVR (ultraviolet radiation), so they have a larger percentage of dark-skinned individuals as opposed to regions that receive a lesser UVR. 

The above explains why some persons are dark and others are not. Nevertheless, it appears the dark skin is less appreciated in society. This has led to insecurities in some dark-skinned women and even men, therefore they engage in the act of skin bleaching.

Black is Beautiful

Black is beautiful, is a slogan that has been exclaimed for years, but these powerful words have not successfully achieved the goal of making every dark skin woman/man appreciate their melanin. 


Lately, there is a rapid quest in people to deplete their melanin and become light-skinned. This is evident in how skin-lightening products are sought widely and people have built a fortune from selling such products. The best way to sell any skin product is by adding in your description that the product will evenly whiten the user.

However, is skin bleaching without consequences?

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Some Consequences of Skin Bleaching

  • Some bleaching products contain harmful substances such as mercury. While mercury can effectively remove dark spots a prolonged usage of it can be detrimental to the health of the user. Mercury in skin products can lead to mercury poisoning.
  • Hydroquinone is another substance widely used in skin bleaching products because it impedes the skin’s production of melanin which is responsible for dark skin.  Hydroquinone depletes the top layer of the skin and even leads to kidney, and liver damages and skin cancer.
  • After bleaching, exposure to the sun can lead to hyperpigmentation. Most bleaching cream advises their users to avoid the sun and use sunscreen when exposed to the sun.
  • The bleaching of the skin can make the veins more visible. It can equally weaken your skin barriers.
  • If not done right, in the process of bleaching your skin, you can make your skin tone uneven. A case of becoming both Coke and Fanta.
  • Bleaching of the skin can increase the chances of skin cancer.
  • The discontinuation of bleaching cream can lead to re-pigmentation. It can also cause body odor.

Hydroquinone, another common ingredient, can cause many side effects, including dermatitis (skin irritation), cataracts, and blue-black skin discoloration. It may sometimes cause an offensive fish odor in the user

There are tons of pretty and successful dark-skinned women in the world. Black is beautiful, and it should be worn with pride.

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Cecilia Wonah


1 Comment

  • Excellent write up… Black doesn’t crack 😇

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