Nigeria's Booming Skin Bleaching Market

In Nigeria, a growing number of men and women are using skin whitening creams because they believe a fairer complexion will help them succeed in life. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 70 percent of Nigerian women admit they use such products -- despite the health hazards. That compares with 59 percent in Togo, and 27 in Senegal.

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow reports from Lagos.

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Reply to comment | Sahara Reporters

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Not Good News

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I don't think just bleaching

I don't think just bleaching the skin would cause and cancer; there would be many other reason too behind it. May be using extra activator in bleaching cream would cause symptoms of cancer.
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They Smell Good... damn too good!

Nonesense!... I love 'em just the way they are... The smell of female hormone set the mood... Ubanka!!

It is all about self-acceptance and understanding of true beauty

I think most women (irrespective of their nationality)bleach because they lack positive self-esteem and due to their poor understanding of true beauty. Beauty is beyond the skin and looks, but most women struggle to accept this. I think my dermatologist would agree that I am a "perfect canditate for bleaching" because my face is way darker than the rest of my skin (about 4 shades darker), due to the effect of sun exposure on my sensitive skin. However, I chose (and still choose) not to bleach. Instead, I chose to invest in good sun blocks to prevent further sun damage. But the decision not to bleach, though a bit difficult, was because I know I am more than my skin and that my beauty is beyond what I look like--my beauty is on the inside. I also have a daughter, so I need to be careful of the example I set for her. Fortunately, I never saw my own mother with bleaching cream.

I beg to disagree with Kin

I beg to disagree with Kin Kardashan that Nigerian women are like apes and very ugly.To say the least, in Africa, we are the most beautiful. You can't compare a Naija babe's looks or fashion sense to our sisters in contries like: Ethiopia,Sudan,Mali e.t.c. Kim Kardashan that is now enjoying the company of Kanye West-is Kanye even that smashing good-looking?They just happen to "gel".Kim i just hope you didn;t say such derogatory things about "Naija babes" or i will cease to a fan of yours.

Skin bleaching & Feminine hygiene are different Stories!

While I agree that bleaching is dangerous to the health of abusers, feminine hygiene is another story entirely. I strenuously disagree that most Nigerian women (incl. married ladies) are "nasty and smell bad" as claimed by the anonymous midwife. Contra! I personally do not know nasty and smelly women and I can excuse the panty liners as well, not under 40-degree weather. In fact, most Naija women wear "double under wears" as in wearing spandex on top of their regular undies to guard against rape. But, enlightened women know to "douche" before visiting their doctors. In fact, my sisters carry douche bottles as part of their hand bag accessories. None live in Nigeria, I must add.

From my experience, the cleanest women are Americans while the dirtiest are Russians ...closely edging out gypsies, India/Pakis and South African freaks. In Nigeria, Edo and Ibo ladies are the cleanest.

Nothing personal.

Don't take it personal is just that the truth hurts and am no racist my dear, why are you so bitter by the way ? did my response strike a nerve.You need to pay a visit to a gynaecologist or try having a conversation with those in Nigeria to reveal in details the horrible sight they are confronted with on a daily basis.Without a shadow of doubt the average lady is more concerned about what they wear in terms of dressing, make up's, bleaching creams, personal hygiene ain't an area of preference in Nigeria unfortunately, sorry if i hurt your feelings .

Get a reality check .

Any good doctor that tells any lady anti feminine wash ain't good for you must either be a vet or need to have their heads re-examined.Nigeria is a country am well informed has all kinds of poorly educated medical doctors with no qualifications and the statistics proves it{high infant immortality rates, misdiagnosis,corrupt pathologist, and even heard of cases were people just walk of the streets into wards administering treatment like human lives has no meaning,you maybe you have been seeing one my love, my advice is get your anti feminine was and give that man some pleasant relief from the decaying stench of bleaching and poverty.

I suspect you're a Racist!

YOU are nasty and smelly. You smell like a White Supremacist (Racist) to me. THAT stinks more than any stench a sweating body or a linerless pair of panties could ever have. Your comment had nothing to do with the article either, it was just a trifling means of insulting and demeaning the beautiful women of Nigeria.

in reply to the statement of

in reply to the statement of midwife all a woman need do is to wash thoroughly and mind you do not use feminine wash as this is discourage by good doctors. you can wash the hair but not the Virginia.

You are spot on.

I totally agree with you that most women, even the most 'expensively' dressed simply smell. I have always wondered what medical personnel that may in the course of their profession need to examine these women beyond the outside go through. I don't think the propaganda about skin bleaching causing cancer/kidney disorders is real, otherwise these women(and some men)would have had a re-think. My observation is that 85% of men that bleach are either motor park touts, patronize brothels, or have spiritual challenges, and most times uneducated.

Poverty and Ignorance .

When Miss Kardashan visited Nigeria recently and said our women were so damn ugly and looked like apes she was very correct, with their ugly smelly wigs, tight jeans with terrible k-legs,big stomachs with tight t-shirts,dusty dry feet, bleached smelly skin, smelly arm pits,imagine the state of their under wears. Nigeria government empower and educate our women and you would be educating generations.

Fela talk am, yellow

Fela talk am, yellow fever,stupid tin,fuckin tin.na yeye go kill wetin God give una keep as ya own but na bleach die una dey so

Nasty, smelly, women

it is very disheartening to read your response to this bleaching issue. you claimed to have worked as a midwife and that's where you gathered you experience. I don't know whether you are male or female, regardless, I beg to disagree with you. Nigerian women are not nasty, and smelly as you claimed, rather they are very classy, clean with good grooming habit. I don't know at what level you were a midwife but being one who is involved in a capacity of confidence with lots of Nigerian women I totally disagree with you. whether these women bleach or not does not make them nasty and smelly. after all it is their prerogative to treat their skin as they see fit. what is it to you if they bleach? is it not the men in our society who mainly prefer light colored women, perhaps, we need to have a discussion about that. May be we need to change our men mentality of always seeking women who are light in complexion forgetting that the "darker the berry the sweeter the juice."

Nonsense!

Come on folks, skin bleaching is bad, but 80% of Nigerian women according to what the guy said in the video??? That is pure nonsense. Maybe 80% of the uneducated people they interviewed at a local market; I personally know or suspect about 4 people out of a 1000 I know that bleach, and I do not have a personal friend that does. 80%??? Haba.

THE END RESULT IS DEADLY!

Skin bleaching is dangerous and unnecessary. Most of these creams contain hydroquinone, a chemical known to cause severe kidney damage and cancer. It’s not worth it.

Self-Hatred

Those of us in the diaspora are confused, we say black is beautiful. These pure Africans, not so much!! Why do they hate themselves? We live with subliminal messages that say "white is right" How would Nigerians get this message?

Who is to blame?

Much of the blame goes to the "bleachers" but substantial blame goes to our warped sense of values in this country. If a fairskinned girl and darkskinned girl walk past a group of men, the fair girl will attract the most stares and catcalls! The dark girl will be called witch, devil, just bcos of the color of her skin! Whatever happened to "Black is beautiful" .....is it because we are called the dark continent and the color black is used to designate bad, evil, unpleasant that we engage in all these unholy habits?
And since the girls want to catch aristos, they go all out and do whatever to impress and catch their preys.
May God help us!

Nasty , smelly , women.

Imagine women with no access to clean water and a bath tub bleaching .Majority of Nigerian women don't even know how to keep themselves clean and stink bad, u don't want to see some ladies underwear in Nigeria when they visit the clinic and am talking married women included with expensive clothes and gold with no idea ladies are supposed to soak in hot tubs after each monthly circle,all most all of the women don't wear panty liners or use anti - feminine wash to freshen up considering our hot climates with traffic jams,most are so poorly informed, but know the latest bleaching creams.I work as a midwife and am sorry to say Nigerian women are nasty and smell bad its so embarrassing, i pity their partners.

what a shame. so if it is black it is bad?

thinking that lighter-skinned people are better is simply inferiority complex. i've always known nigerians to be shallow muthafuckers. this confrims it.

it is time nigerians end this "if it is not white it is not right" mentality!

bad markets

People who bleach are bad markets. They smell, are ugly, fragile and fake. They are protesting against their Creator and therefore running from themselves. Most shamefully their skins end up mottled. Shio!

Bad

After bleaching the skin comes the cancer, may God help them.

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