FIGHTING SKIN BLEACHING

Skin bleaching or skin lightening is a global pandemic. Wherever black people or melanin reside, there is a strong presence of skin bleaching products and services? Why? What is it about black skin that black people themselves find so undesirable?  Dr Yaba Blay, a renowned expert on the subject, claims that the problem originates from ‘colonial influences’ that refuse to leave with their masters. These influences aim to portray – in line with the whole concept of colonialism- that black people and inferior and white people are superior; thus the want to look lighter.   

Whether someone looks better or not as a result of skin lightening is a whole different story. What we must focus on are the effects of this horrible trend. In accordance with the Ghana Health Service report, an alarming 30% of women in Ghana and 5% of men in Ghana were actively bleaching. Worse still this figure is only rising, as of 2012 50% – 60% Ghanaian women are ‘bleachers.’ All of these women are completely oblivious to the irreparable damage of skin bleaching. Some of these effects include thinning of skin, development of visible blood vessel, intense irritation, an increased appetite and weight gain, and probably the most damaging is that it increases the risk of contracting skin cancer. All the wonderful packaging of the skin bleaching products fails to highlight, or in some cases even mention, these lasting side effects of being ‘beautiful.’

As the saying goes, “every problem has a solution,” and Mrs Amey-Obeng is fighting to resolve this one. A native Ghanaian woman who travelled to the United Kingdom to perfect her knowledge on Skin care, she is using her knowledge to reverse the effects of skin bleaching. The focal point of the business is to advise black woman on how to look after their skin. She started right out of her handbag before her family assisted her with some capital to start her business. Her business which comprises of skin clinics as well as beauty products now has an annual turnover of 8-10 million dollars. Not only is she spreading the gospel of good healthy skin in Ghana – with a record 8 branches- but she is a force to be reckoned with in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ivory Coast and the United Kingdom. If ever there was a superwoman, she would probably be Mrs Amey-Obeng. Besides her booming business she is well known for her philanthropic work through the Grace Amey-Obeng foundation which aims at training and empowering women.

All black people around the world need to be proud of their black skin and Mrs Grace Amey-Obeng should be applauded for leading the fight against skin bleaching. 

Photo credits: Google images, BBC.com

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