The human skin is one of the most complicated tissues and interestinly also the largest part in the body.

The skin serves as protection to the internal human organs.

It plays a crucial role in providing air, watertight and a flexible barriers that regulate systems within the body.

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According to U.S-based Cleveland Clinics, the skin also protects against germs, regulates body temperature and enables touch sensations.

The clinic, one of the leading health institutions in the U.S. said the skin’s main layers include the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis and is prone to many problems, including skin cancer, acne, wrinkles and rashes.

Given the sensitive nature and importance of the skin, why then do people bleach?

Mr Christopher Elosaghe, a sociologist said bleaching is a sub-culture in Africa rooted in a negative perception that one need to have a white skin to be considered beautiful.

Elosaghe wondered why bleaching of the skin is rare in the West or even among the workers in skin products manufacturing firms but a common phenomenon among black Africans.

Elosaghe said to curtail skin bleaching among black Africans required socio-cultural re-orientation directly countering the inferiority complex challenge through the propagation of ‘black is beautiful’ or that it does not require a white or yellow complexion to be beautiful.

Mr Isa Abubakar, a skin care products dealer, explained that most people who are involved in skin bleaching see it as a means of beautification, adding that such people are ignorant of the negative implications of applying wrong body products to their skin.

“Another reason why some people indulge in skin bleaching is inferiority complex; while others do it to attract the opposite gender or meet up with the trends in the society”, he said, adding that the later factor is common among young people.

Abubakar said that from his experience of many years in the business, peer influence is another factor that makes some people bleach their skin.

“All they care about is to lighten up their skin. Most Nigerians are easily influenced with light skin” he said.

He advised skin care users to always consult dermatologists and other skin products experts for the product that suits their skin texture

Miss Florence Joseph, an Abuja resident corps member, said that many indulge in skin bleaching as a means of attracting the opposite sex for marriage or relationship, adding that some men, for instance prefer fair skinned ladies over dark ones.

“I had an encounter with a male friend who told me that he is bleaching his skin because ladies are not easily attractive to dark guys but fair guys” she said.

Joseph said in her opinion, unfortunately, bleaching the skin cannot change one’s personality rather it destroys the skin gradually resulting in skin cancer and other related skin diseases.

She urged Nigerians to make proper check of skin care products before patronising them bearing in mind the consequences of using inappropriate products.


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