Pan Africanism : The Dilemma of Skin Bleaching

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Destee, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Destee

    Destee STAFF

    United States
    Jan 22, 2001
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    Campaign to Rid Streets of Illegal Bleaching Products Begins Next Month

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    A five-month campaign to rid the streets of illegal bleaching products and to increase awareness about the dangers of using these items will begin next month.

    To be undertaken by the Standards and Regulation Division in the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Jamaica Library Service, the campaign, dubbed 'Don't Kill the Skin,' is part of observances for Black History Month.

    Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, in a speech read by Legal Officer in the Ministry, Lilyclaire Bellamy, at today's (Jan. 18) 'Bleachers Beware' lecture at the Tom Redcam Library in Kingston, noted that if left unaddressed, skin bleaching may amount to a health crisis.

    "Skin bleaching has become a fast and risky way for young men and women to become beautiful. Many dermatologists are already reporting that some patients seek help far too late to reverse the damage already done to the skin. The Standards and Regulation Division intends to increase its inspection on businesses and individuals vendors to confiscate illegal pharmaceutical items," Mr. Dalley said.

    Most bleaching creams, he noted, contained hydroquinone, a chemical that was available only by prescription in Europe and was closely regulated in the United States. He said that prolonged use of creams containing this chemical, not only stopped the production of melanin, which gave the skin its dark pigment and provided protection and against sun damage, but also increased the likelihood of skin cancers.

    "Already, skin cancer is ranked among the major causes of death in Jamaica and the rest of the region, and costs billions of dollars to treat annually," he stated.

    He further urged persons engaged in the practice of bleaching the skin to desist, noting that the skin was the largest organ of the body and as such it is important that persons protected their skin from harmful chemicals.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Clive Anderson, Consultant Dermatologist and Venereologist at Nuttal Medical Centre, said that while there were certain skin conditions that required the dermatologist to use skin-lightening products, many people often abused these products.

    He noted that sometimes, persons used these creams on the entire body including the genital areas, which overtime, may result in skin cancer, thinning of the skin, irreversible stretch marks, easy bruising and tearing of the skin, rashes, enlarged blood vessels, susceptibility to infection, delayed wound healing, hyper pigmentation, acne and hormonal disturbances.

    Dr. Anderson pointed out that many persons not only used illegal bleaching products to achieve a lighter skin tone, but many also resort to the use of toothpaste, curry powder, bleach and skimmed milk as well as cornmeal.

    "If is very worrying because a lot of persons know that they are doing severe damage to the skin and persist in it. Some of this damage is reversible; a lot of it is not reversible. We need to realize that when we use these products, we are doing our skin immeasurable harm. There is no advantage to lightning our skin colour and at the same time damaging our skin. Beautiful skin really is healthy skin, whatever the colour," he stated.

    Under the Food and Drug Act, persons found guilty of selling and distributing skin-lightening products that are not approved by the Ministry of Health, can be fined $50,000 per offence or be imprisoned.


    Here is a link to a story responding to the above:


    The dilemma of skin bleaching

    Jamaica has gained international attention this past week for the announced plans by the island's Health Ministry to crack down on the sale of skin-lightening products and the launching of a public awareness campaign about the health risks of skin bleaching.

    This campaign deserves public support, but the authorities have to be careful of the message and the crafting and execution of the policy lest the programme has unintended detrimental and costly effects.

    Of course, skin lightening is neither new nor unique to Jamaica. Generations of Jamaicans and black and dark-skinned persons elsewhere have resorted to a variety of products in an attempt to lighten their hue. Indeed, in the big debate this past week about the alleged racism and bullying of Indian actress Shilpa Shetty on the British television reality show, Celebrity Big Brother, a matter of comment was Ms. Shilpa's suspected use of skin lighteners.

    The issue here is not whether Ms. Shilpa, obviously Asian in features and complexion, did or did not, but the fact that the practice is relatively common across non-white cultures. It is, however, particularly visible among black people.

    The reasons for the use of these products by Jamaican women of African descent are deep and complex, having to do with the sociology of slavery, the continuing relationship between race and power, and notions of beauty. The assumptions are that beauty is not obviously black; although, in the context of Jamaica, and perhaps the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean, it is not overtly Caucasian and aquiline.

    Something in between translates in Jamaican parlance to 'browning', the mixed-raced person legitimised by beauty contests and endorsed in popular culture.

    Transition to both genders

    What has changed in Jamaica recently is the transition of skin lightening from a female preserve to including males. Men, too, routinely bleach their faces and other parts of their skin, which on the face of it suggests that in the 21st century, many Jamaicans remain deeply uncomfortable with and within themselves.

    In this campaign being launched by the health authorities, it is right to highlight the physical harm that can be caused by the arbitrary use of skin-lightening products. However, officials have to be careful that confiscation and bans do not push the problem underground, with the consequences that tend to accompany lucrative black markets.

    But any project to deal with this issue cannot dwell solely on the physical scars that can be left by bleaching products; it has to deal with the historic, social and emotional wounds for which people believe skin lightening provides a salve.


  2. Amnat77

    Amnat77 Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Dec 11, 2006
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    This is true for All Africans all over the world.....especially here in England...i have seen pictures of BEAUTIFUL before they bleached thier they are is truly sad.
  3. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Oct 25, 2005
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    They should just say IT.

    Jamaica (HEALTH CARE) is going deep in the RED with DEBT ie BROKE.

    Even those who dont LIGHTEN UP will have to PAY for those WHO DO.

    But I guess this ARTICLE is WRITTEN in A WAY to ATTRACT a MONEY LORD to save Jamaica HEALTH CARE instead of the LIGHT EFFECT.

    I hope AFRICAN and WESTERN COUNTRIES REALIZE this. And see this article for what it IS.

    Oh well.