Skin Bleaching Pregnant women in Ghana are taking pills to bleach their babies’ skin
The women have been warned that the drugs can cause birth defects and damage the babies’ limbs.
There is a growing trend in Ghana where women are taking pills during pregnancy to lighten the skin of their babies before they are born.
The pills work by creating chemical reactions that reduce the secretion of hormones that darken the skin of the child, making them light-skinned while they are still in the womb.
One of the drugs in question, Glutathione is one of the most talked-about supplements in the healthcare industry. However, mothers have begun manipulating its side effects to alter the complexion of their unborn babies.
Medical experts say the illegal use of these drugs can cause birth defects. In some cases, they can cause irreparable damage to the babies’ limbs and internal organs.
The trend is such a scourge that the Ghanaian government now considers it in common processes.
The country made the news in January when the immigration service disqualified candidates who had bleached their skin for fear that the physical nature of the job might take a toll on them.
A popular trend
Either by way of a neo-colonialist mentality or just the pressure to appear more desirable, men and women are taking various products, from specially prepared creams and lotions to pills, to lighten their skin.
To be fair, there has always been a social preference for light-skinned women in Nigeria, Ghana and most of West Africa.
As far back as 1961, Nigerian highlife musician Sir Victor Olaiya released the record “Omo Pupa” where he sang of his desire for a light-skinned woman.
Today, light-skinned women are depicted as the cream of the crop. One of the unspoken rules of beauty pageants is that light-skinned women are more likely to make the line-up and win than their dark-skinned sisters.
Light skinned women dominate music videos, catwalks and every other platform where the beauty of the female form is taken into consideration.
Women with dark skin are left under the pressure to meet these standards; it is why a country like Ghana, noted for its dark skinned beauties, is now gaining a sad reputation for being the West Arican epicenter of skin bleaching.
The perils of skin bleaching are numerous.
Some get let off easy with skin that remains permanently bleached even after they stop the process.
Others have to suffer through more extreme repercussions like thinning of skin, uneven colour loss that leads to a blotchy appearance, redness and intense irritation in particular areas such as the feet, face and knuckles, dark grey spots, acne, weight gain, osteoporosis and cancer.
In Nigeria, skin bleaching creams are the fad. The practice is so common that there are grades, depending on the financial capacity of the interested party.
In Ghana, the case is similar. A number of the country’s celebrities, quite like Nigeria, have been accused of bleaching their skin over time.