Dermatologists have warned parents against bleaching their children’s skin, saying it could lead to skin damage, liver and kidney problems.
They also said it could lead to rashes and blotchy spots.
A Consultant Physician and Dermatologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Dr. Olufolakemi Cole-Adeife, said bleaching children’s skin is a form of child abuse and should be stopped.
“Mothers should not put their insecurities about their skins onto their babies or children. You do not need to change their skin colour for any reason. When babies are born, their skin colour is lighter because they are in the womb, and once they get out of the womb, their skin colour will change because of exposure to the sun.
“So, people saying that when their babies were born, they were fair and now they are dark and want to bring them back to their real complexion is ridiculous.
“We are seeing a lot of babies now being bleached by their parents using skin-lightening products and this should be stopped. This is a form of child abuse. Do not bleach your children’s skin. It leads to long-term complications and can hinder their normal growth. Allow your children to be children,” she said.
Also, a Consultant Dermatologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Dr Uche Ojinmah said bleaching children’s skin could lead to greater health risks.
According to him, bleaching children’s skin is like roasting the kidneys very early as most skin-lightening products contain steroids, mercury, and hydroquinone.
“When you don’t produce melanin, you automatically expose yourself to skin cancer from the rays of the sunlight, which penetrates your skin and can cause genetic changes to the DNA of the skin which can lead to cancer.
“That is why those of us living with albinism have a higher rate of skin cancer unless they use sun protection,” Ojinmah said.
According to the World Health Organisation, the skin-lightening industry is one of the fastest-growing beauty industries worldwide.
It said the skin-lightening products industry is projected to be worth $31.2bn in 2024.
It noted, “The skin-lightening industry is one of the fastest growing beauty industries worldwide and is estimated to be worth $31.2bn by 2024.
“In India, for example, the skin-lightening industry (including products with and without mercury) represents 50 per cent of the skincare market and is estimated to be worth $450–535 million.”