Home » Over One-Third of Ghanaians Face Health Risks from Skin Bleaching

Over One-Third of Ghanaians Face Health Risks from Skin Bleaching

WHO Report Highlights Rising Skin Bleaching Trend in Ghana, Africa

by Adenike Adeodun

A concerning trend is emerging in Ghana, where over a third of the population is engaging in skin bleaching, creating serious health risks. This alarming situation was detailed in a World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Region report, which found that 39 out of every 100 Ghanaians are involved in this practice, largely due to the widespread use of skin-lightening products.

The prevalence of skin bleaching varies across African countries, ranging from 25% in Mali to a staggering 77% in Nigeria. Other countries like Zimbabwe, South Africa, Senegal, and Congo-Brazzaville report intermediate rates. This data comes from the November 2023 analytical fact sheet of the WHO African Region and the Integrated African Health Observatory (iAHO) report, released in Accra.

In Ghana, the figures are particularly concerning in urban centers like Kumasi and Accra, where over 40% of study participants reported using skin-bleaching products.

Skin bleaching, also known as skin lightening or whitening, is a global cosmetic practice aimed at achieving a lighter skin tone. It often involves the use of products containing potentially harmful ingredients like corticosteroids, hydroquinone, and mercury. This practice is common in Africa and Asia, driven by various historical, economic, socio-cultural, and psychosocial factors.

According to a report by the Daily Graphic, the WHO has revealed that skin bleaching has a global prevalence of 27.1% in Africa, with 25 to 80% of African women regularly using these products. A recent meta-analysis showed that the highest prevalence of skin bleaching, at 55.9%, is among people aged 30 years and under.

The report classifies skin bleaching as a global public health issue, calling for strong regulatory actions to ban the importation of harmful skin-bleaching products.

Professor Francis Kasolo, the WHO Country Representative to Ghana, commented on the issue, stating, “We recognise the health threats of skin bleaching. Through this analytical fact sheet, we aim to create awareness and control the practice in Ghana and Africa.”

The health effects of skin bleaching are numerous, including dermatitis, acne, discolouration, changes in skin thickness, mercury poisoning, nephrotic syndrome, and exogenous ochronosis. Long-term use of skin-lightening products is also linked to skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma.

Chronic use of these products can lead to mercury poisoning, adrenal insufficiency, Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes, osteonecrosis, and postoperative adrenal crisis. People with bleached skin also experience slower wound healing, increased infection risk, and other complications.

To combat this trend, the report suggests educating healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, about the complications of misusing skin-lightening products. It advocates for public health strategies to discourage colourism, promoting the beauty of all skin colours, and using dark-skinned models in commercials.

The report concludes that comprehensive public health awareness strategies are essential to discourage skin bleaching, a significant public health issue requiring broad campaigns to inform people about the associated health risks.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

white logo with motto small

The Ghana Sentinel is an embodiment of Ghana’s spirit, providing unerring insight into our politics, society, and business.

Editors' Picks

Latest Stories

© 2024 The Ghana Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com