Women Battle the Destructive Trend of Skin Bleaching

Because of a gnarly skin condition, she started dodging public spots, shackled by humiliation.

“My mental health plummeted ’cause folks bailed on me, shocked by my veins popping like that. I fell ill multiple times. Docs told me to ditch the products—said they’d cause permanent damage,” she lamented.

Saido’s medics predicted healing would take roughly three years, triggering serious anxiety. She’s been searching high and low for another doctor to suggest an alternative but has come up empty-handed. She’s shelled out about $1,500 for consultations and treatments and is completely beat, which has only ramped up her anxiety.

Speaking to Radio Ergo, Saido revealed her friends coaxed her into using skin-whitening concoctions—a decision she rues daily. Now, hope is her only ally.

“I’ve battled various health issues, my immunity nosedived, I get sores that stubbornly stick around, I can’t handle sunlight or kitchen heat. My sores are endless,” she shared.

Saido kickstarted a crusade, raising awareness among women about these products. She’s set up an online hub, discussing the hazards of these chemicals.

Fadumo, a 28-year-old from Qardo (also a pseudonym), has fallen victim too. She jumped on the skin-bleaching bandwagon in December 2022.

She grabbed the product from an online vendor, oblivious to its risks, hoping to banish her zits as promised. Within a week, her face was a battlefield of persistent sores. Despite trying countless remedies, nothing did the trick.

“It came in a plastic case. I had no clue about the sellers, saw it on TikTok and forked over $46. One morning, I woke to sores all over my face. The shades of my skin varied, and the itching drove me nuts,” she recounted.

Her family harped on her judgment, grilling her over her choice. Trips to various doctors revealed her cells were fried by chemicals, making it tough to treat her.

She also experienced allergic reactions due to the chemicals.

“For half a year, I holed up at home, crushed by stigma. When I ventured out, I hid under a face veil. Social events and photos? Nope. I even avoided neighbors. Thank goodness, I’m better now. You can spot some black marks, but I’m better,” she mentioned.

However, she still struggles with bathing, wincing in pain whenever water touches her skin.

In February 2024, Qardo doctors revealed a surge in health hazards from the growing use of skin lightening products among women.

Dr. Mohamed Omar Hareri, a leading researcher at Qardo General Hospital, reported 487 patients in local health centers suffering from skin bleaching chemicals. Many women use these products yet haven’t sought medical help.

Dr. Mohamed stated doctors can only manage symptoms, not reverse them.

“The damage from these products is tied to their chemicals. Users face thinning skin, visible veins, swelling, high blood pressure, and sometimes skin, kidney, or lung cancer. First, we must cease their use and medicate. But with kidney failure or cancer, treatment prospects are grim,” he said.

Dr. Mohamed pointed out that most women are unaware of the dangers until it’s too late.

These products, once common in towns, are now spreading like wildfire in rural areas as well.

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