Durban march highlights dangers of skin lighteners

Black is beautiful. Say No to skin bleaching and embrace dark skin.

That was the message from several hundred people who marched through the Durban CBD on Friday to raise awareness against the use of skin lightening creams.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal and the KwaZulu-Natal Health department called on the public to reject skin lightening creams.

Messages on the placards read: “I’m black and I’m beautiful“. “Skin bleaching equals poison to your skin“. “Love your skin the way it is“. “Real men like real natural women“.

The march was part of a landmark campaign to raise awareness around the dangers of skin lightening creams.

 Dr Moses Ollengo an academic from UKZN school of chemistry who was part of march said he had done a lot of research into skin lightening and found it affected women adversely.

“Some ingredients even affect unborn children. Better to prevent than treat.”

Prof Ncoza Dlova‚ a leading dermatologist and researcher asked all those assembled at the march to each tell a hundred women skin bleaching “is not cool“.

She called on the health department to remove all dangerous and illegal creams that harmed skin.

Nombulelo Pakkies‚ 49‚ said friends advised her to use skin lightening creams to remove marks on her face.

“It has instead damaged my skin. I cannot be in the sun as my skin burns and is itchy.”

Another victim‚ Mbali Mkhize Gazo‚ who used creams for her acne said it worked for a while but when the acne returned it came back with a vengeance.

“I sought help from Prof Dlova. And a year later I am much better. People should go to proper skin doctors if they have a skin problem‚” she said.