Here is how bleaching your skin could affect your kidney

A new statement from NAFDAC reveals the harmful effects of whitening products.

Bleaching is a harmful beauty trend that could harm your skin and kidney
  • Skin bleaching is a very popular beauty trend among Nigerians.
  • Despite being considered 'cool', it has extremely harmful effects which include kidney damage, skin scarring and cancer.
  • A Clinical Psychologist explains why Nigerians and Africans continue to bleach their skin in spite of the health risks associated with it.

Bleaching one's skin is often considered as a 'cool' beauty trend but did you know it has really scary side effects?

According to Mojisola Adeyeye, the director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), this seemingly harmless trend could lead to skin cancer and kidney failure.

She shared this shocking discovery during a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).


In her words, "In Nigeria, we have a lot of use of dangerous chemicals. One is Glutathione used as an injection. People inject it under their skins, with a promise that they will be lighter in a week or two.

"From Glutathione injection to other chemicals, the reason why we are so concerned about Glutathione is because it can cause skin cancer. It can cause kidney dysfunction and failure and this is what young people don't know."

Adeyeye concluded her statement by encouraging Nigerians to be proud of their natural skin colour.

She said, "First, philosophically I don't know why somebody wants to bleach their skin, you should be proud of your colour because, when you cross that threshold of desiring to be lighter, problems are associated with it."


Additional reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the key ingredients in skin bleaching/lightening products could also cause skin rashes, scarring, anxiety and depression.

The use of bleaching products is a big problem here. A 2002 survey by Zero Hg, Mercury Working Group found that Nigeria has over 99.5 million users of bleaching products. 

This makes Nigeria the second on the list of countries with the highest number of users of bleaching products. India is first with 735 million users.


WHO also found that 77% of bleaching consumers in Africa come from Nigeria, followed by Togo with 59%; South Africa with 35%; and finally Mali at 25%.

An interview with Clinical Psychologist Toyin Alatise-Abimbola revealed the reason why Nigerians and Africans continue to partake in this beauty trend in spite of the health risks associated with it.

The founder of PsychNG Services, a psychology outfit in Lagos State, explained that the need to change one's skin tone is an indication of something deeper.

She told Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa that "Altering one's appearance may be an indication of more pathological problems such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder or body image dissatisfaction. This may be a sign of non-acceptance of one's cultural background due to the belief that the only standard of beauty is those defined by European ideals for instance."


The Clinical Psychologist goes on to proffer solutions in the rest of the interview seen here.


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