In 2011, the World Health Organization published an assessment on skin bleaching in 2011, which showed that 77 percent of Nigerians use skin-lightening products—the highest proportion in the world. WHO's primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations' system and to lead partners in global health responses. According to, World Health Organization, the skin bleaching industry has grown into a billion-dollar international industry for the past few decades. Hydroquinone and products containing hydroquinone are used in cosmetics and medical skin preparations as a depigmentation agent to lighten small areas of hyperpigmented skin and to treat various other disorders of pigmentation. Routine skin whitener use ranges from 25% in Mali to 77% in Nigeria, and it's 40% in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea, according to the World Health Organization. Skin bleaching is a common thing in Nigeria, so much so that Nigeria has been declared the World capital of skin bleaching. In Nigeria, individuals often bear the costs of their own health care, and are often ignorant of the health implications of their personal behavior. As a result, dangerous skin bleaching has become a public health crisis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Inorganic mercury, for example, described by the World Health Organization as a “common ingredient found in skin lightening soaps and creams” often used in Africa and Asia, can cause kidney damage. Mercury-containing skin lightening products are hazardous to health and as a result have been banned in many countries. All-natural products containing papaya, lemon juice, or rice water can serve as alternatives, and azelaic acid and niacin amide are claimed to be safer than the compounds often found in bleaching creams and soaps. Skin lightening — also called skin whitening or skin bleaching — is the practice of using cosmetics to either reduce the appearance of age spots and/or discoloration or to change one’s natural complexion. The truth is that most users are ignorant of the damaging effect of the products on their health. These efforts have not tried to stop people from having sex, smoking, not exercising, or eating junk, but have focused on providing assistance. The practice remains widely popular despite widespread advocacy by the World Health Organization (2015) that the bleaching products contain inorganic mercury which can cause kidney damage, skin discoloration and rashes among other negative health outcomes. 2 Although skin bleaching products are hazardous to one’s health and banned in many countries, these products are available for sale over the internet, providing unlimited access to potential customers. Skin lightening cosmetics include bleaching creams, soaps, and pills that contain compounds designed to inhibit melanin production and thereby lighten skin. She is passionate about social well-being and the rights of sub-Saharan Africans living with skin conditions and visible differences. These compounds are then introduced to food chains, and may ultimately be consumed by humans. Many expectant mothers put their unborn babies at great risk by their unrepentant use … According to the statistics recently published by WHO, 77% of Nigerian women bleach, followed by Togo with 59% while South Africa with 35%; and Mali at 25%. The dangers are particularly acute in Africa as users mix together multiple products in an attempt achieve faster results, including hazardous caustic agents (such as automotive battery acid, washing power, toothpaste, cloth bleaching agents, or lemon) that contain high levels of mercury, increasing the risk of severe health problems. Outer Shell Africa–Skin and Appearance Social Lab, Why the Kremlin is Waltzing over “Matilda”. In a report recently released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria has the highest percentage of users of skin bleaching. All people have a right to health. • The skin lightening industry is one of the fastest growing beauty industries worldwide and is estimated to be worth US$ 31.2 billion by 2024 (14). A study or a WHO statement may attract readers and researchers, but it does not make much difference on the ground. Maduewesi is the founder of Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation (VITSAF), the first Vitiligo patient-driven organization in sub-Saharan Africa, and she recently spearheaded Vitiligo in Africa Alliance. This West African country is followed by Togo with 59%, South Africa with 35%, Senegal with 27% and Mali with 25%. 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