The largely unregulated bleaching cream industry in Nigeria touted to be a money spinner may face a new regime of restrictions if submissions from dermatologists in the country sail through.
The new move to regulate the industry potentially spells worry for bleaching cream experts such as Pela Okiemute, Idris Okuneye aka Bobrisky (who has made money and fame selling bleaching agents) and popular radio personality Toke Makinwa, who once confessed that she had to bleach her skin to suit her ex-hubby, Maje Ayida.
A law seeking to regulate the manufacturing and use of bleaching cream is being mooted by medical doctors under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Dermatologists.
The group even went further to reveal that they have begun the process of meeting with some lawmakers at the National Assembly in order to formulate such a law.
That much was revealed during a press conference held in commemoration of the World Skin Health Day in Abuja, by the Chairman of the Abuja Dermatology Society, Dr. Mohammed Danmallam, who spoke on behalf of NAD.
He said, “Speaking of legislation, what we are trying to do now is to try to talk to the health committees so that we can see how they can help us in formulating laws and one of the ways to do that is that we are currently conducting an investigation in collaboration with some African countries.
“We are trying to come out with statistics and facts so that when we sit down with these legislators, we will be able to give them facts that can convince them and so we can move ahead. You will be surprised by the level and number of people and highly placed people that are currently bleaching unnecessarily.”
Danmallam said that there is a need to ban hydroquinone, which is used in the production of bleaching cream, adding, that in the United States, the use of hydroquinone was heavily regulated, but in Nigeria, bleaching agents were abused due to weak regulation of prescription medicine.
“Countries of the world have banned a lot of substances for example, hydroquinone which is the most abused chemical component used in bleaching the skin. It is banned in Europe.
“About two per cent of its use was the limit but now it has been banned completely. It is still allowed in the United States but only based on prescription. Unfortunately, we live in a country where everything is prescription-free.
“As dermatologists, there are conditions we treat. We treat blemishes but we know the dosage, the side effects and when to stop but in our environment, people go out of their way to use it in a manner that is not seen anywhere in the world,” he said.
Danmallam also added that there is no difference between skin toning and bleaching as they both make the skin susceptible to infection and also warned that a lateness in reporting skin damage could lead to irreparable circumstances.
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