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77% Of Nigerians Use Skin Lightening Products – W.H.O

skin lightening cream nigerians

June 21, 2012 – 77% Of Nigerians Use Skin Bleaching Products – W.H.O

According to a new report from the World Health Organization, WHO’s website in relation to the danger of mercury products in Skin lightening creams and soaps, it has been determined that over 77% of Nigerians use skin lightening cream regularly.

The report further stated 59% of Togolese, 35% of South Africans and 25% of Malians use the same thing.

W.H.O Warns Against Skin Care Products Containing Mercury

WHO further issued a warning against the use of mercury containing skin care products (soaps,creams,eye makeup,cleaning products, mascara,etc)

Dangers Of Mercury-Containing Skin Care Products

According to the report below are the dangers of using product containing inorganic mercury.

  • Kidney Damage
  • Reduction in Skin resistance to bacterial and fungal infections
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Psychosis, Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Skin Rashes
  • Skin Swelling and Irritation
  • Seizures & Numbness
  • Pain & Tremors
  • Memory Loss

According to Carolyn Vickers of WHO Chemical Safety Department , “Mercury in soaps and creams eventually enters waste water and then enters the food chain as highly toxic methyl mercury.

The mercury enters environment, where it becomes methylated, and enters the food chain as highly toxic methylmercury in fish. Pregnant women who consume fish containing methylmercury transfer the mercury to their foetuses that can later result in neurological deficits in children,” the report states.

It adds that lightening soaps and creams are commonly used in some African and Asian nations and dark-skinned populations in Europe and North America. Mercury salts work by inhibiting the formation of melanin, resulting in a lighter skin tone.

In many countries, this deadly substance has been banned.

“Some manufacturers are no longer using mercury as a preservative in mascara and eye makeup cleansing products as a result of consumer pressure. However, most jurisdictions still allow the sale of makeup products containing mercury compounds. The soaps contain approximately one to three per cent mercury iodide, and the creams are composed of one to 10 per cent mercury ammonium. It is imperative to check for mercury content on the packaging of the soaps, creams or other cosmetics before getting hooked to them,” the report says.

Part of the consolation, however, is that despite a deliberate ploy by some manufacturers to conceal the presence of mercury in their products, there are a few ways by which consumers can confirm when in doubt.

According to WHO, the amount or concentration of mercury in a product may be labelled on the packaging or in the ingredient list. Names to look for include mercury, Hg, mercuric iodide, mercurous chloride, ammoniated mercury, amide chloride of mercury, quicksilver, cinnabaris, hydrargyri oxydum rubrum (mercury oxide) and mercury iodide.

Skin lightening products are manufactured in many countries like China, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the USA.

These products come in different forms, including soaps and creams; the soap is often sold as “antiseptic soap”. These products are supposed to be applied to the skin to dry overnight. Women use the soap to wash their hair, arms or face or their entire body. Products with very high levels of mercury contamination look grey or cream coloured.

When the product manual reads, “Directions to avoid contact with silver, gold, rubber, aluminum and jewellery’’, this may indicate the presence of mercury. However, it is important to note that companies selling products that contain mercury do not always list it as an ingredient.

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