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Somalia: Skin Whitening Cream Phenomenon
Somalia: Skin Whitening Phenomenon
Whether your skin color is black, white, brown or in-between, that is how you were born. That is how you were created by God. You cannot go back in time to be born as somebody else with a different color. You are just stuck with the kind of color you were born with. But some people ( I don’t blame them) are not satisfied with the color on their skin. They want to change it artificially. They prefer to do something about the way their skins were created, whether it is creams or injections, or any type of skin therapy. But there is no safe ways to go about it.
A List of Some of the Skin Bleaching Creams
. Olay Natural White Day Cream
● Triple Nutrient System-Vitamin B3,Pro B5 & E
● Visible lightening of complexion after proper and regular use
● Contains SPF 24
● Suits all normal and dry skin
● Can be too greasy for oily skin at times
● Does nothing about fine lines or wrinkles
Revlon Touch and Glow:
● Contains botanical extracts as well as multi-vitamins
● Contains SPF 15, quite less to the desired level
● Gives matte finish to oily skin
● Slight Skin lightening
● Stimulates cell renewal
Lotus Herbals White Glow skin whitening and brightening skin emulsion:
● This whitening cream is more like a lotion as far as consistency is concerned, hence it gets quickly absorbed by the skin
● Contains good SPF and PA levels
● Suits oily skin really well
Clean and Clear Fairness Cream:
● Best for oily skin
● Gives a matte finish
● Does not clogs the pores
● Contains UV filters . Only small amount is required for
There is something interesting about the last sentence: it warns the user that applying more other than a small amount is a risk (or even applying it no matter the amount is a risk)
Side effects of using skin bleaching creams: hydroquinone
The usage of hydroquinone is to lighten the dark patches of the skin and it has many potential side effects. Hydroquinone is one of the most commonly used skin lightening agents. It is also used for the development of photography. In Europe, Japan and some other countries, it was banned due to serious toxicity concerns.
According to a study by University of Minnesota, Somali women have their ultimate goal as a beauty endeavor to have lighter skin tone as they use skin products containing dangerous chemicals to reach that goal. “These chemicals are proven neurotoxins and have been linked to birth defects if used by women during the prenatal period,” revealed the study.
These products contain dangerous elements such as inorganic mercury whose exposure is associated with fungal infections, rashes, skin discoloration, scarring and even renal impairment and damage to the nervous system. And one of the main reason Somali women use skin lightening products is to attract men, the study added.
Somali women also use creams and soaps to lighten skin tone, fade freckles or get rid of the age spots. But the healthy concerns are high as these products contain mercury, a very harmful ingredient:
Inorganic Mercury Levels in Skin Lightening Creams
PRODUCT MERCURY LEVEL-PARTS PER MILLION (PPM)
Lemon Herbal Whitening Cream 33,000 ppm
Lulanjina – yellow cream
Lulanjina – white cream
Crème Diana C.T.R. 6,370 ppm
Qian Mei – white cream 4,650 ppm
Fasco 4,600 ppm
Milk Cream 4,600 ppm
The world has already become a global village. Information can be easily obtainable with a click of a mouse. Information is no longer hard to acquire. Even before the information technology or the internet, Somalis have always been creatures very good at obtaining information, especially in an oral way. So, in terms of the skin bleaching phenomenon, the information for skin lightening and its practices were already there in Somalia. I remember in Somalia, those skin products were being used by mostly Somali women and by some Somali men also. I remember women whispering to one another pointing the finger to a woman whose face was scarred due to the use of these harmful products. And I still remember one of the most popular products: it was called Diana. And I believe to this present time, the Diana product is the most widely used one among the Somali women to bleach skin.
Amira Adawe researches health risks of skin-lightening practices. She says those products contain dangerous elements but she is optimistic the Somalis will understand the risks of the chemicals.
Style Craze - Top 10 Skin Lightening Creams. N.p.,
Aug. 2013. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.
Natural News - Why hydroquinone, the skin bleaching
chemical, is highly toxic . N.p., May 2013. Web. 1
Adawe, Amira, and Charles Oberg. Minnesota
Medicine - Skin-Lightening Practices and
Mercury Exposure in the Somali Community.
N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.
Hirsi, Ibrahim. MINN POST- Somali woman
researches health risks of skin-lightening
practices. N.p., Aug. 2013. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.
abdinassirsomalia [at] gmail.com