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How to prevent skin bleaching-related injuries, by Olumide


Yetunde Mercy Olumide

Yetunde Mercy Olumide

• Book, The Vanishing Black African Woman, provides evidence-based recommendations
A new book by Emeritus professor of Medicine at the University of Lagos, Yetunde Mercy Olumide, has provided up-to-date evidence-based recommendations for reducing the global burden of cosmetic skin bleaching and preventing injuries related to skin bleaching in sub-Saharan Africa and Africans in diaspora.

The book, The Vanishing Black African Woman, is a compendium of the global skin lightening practice.The author is a member of a collaborative interdisciplinary and transnational research team on the skin lightening culture in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Skin-lightening is currently one of the most common forms of potentially harmful body modification practices in the world and African women are among some of the most widely represented users of skin-lightening products.

Olumide said the book aims to:
*Offer an appraisal of all relevant literature on cosmetic bleaching practices to-date, focusing on any key developments.
*Identify and address important medical, public health issues as well as historical, genetic, psychosocial, cultural, behavioral, socioeconomic, political, institutional and environmental determinants.
*Provide guideline recommendations that would help attenuate the burden and possibly eliminate the injuries related to skin bleaching.
*Discuss potential developments and future directions.

The dermatologist noted: “Since skin bleaching is an offshoot of slavery, racism, colorism, colonialism and neocolonialism, the historical institutions that are related to skin bleaching are well characterized. The global magnitude of the problem is well defined. The World Health Organization (WHO) as the country regards Nigeria with the highest prevalence of the skin bleaching practice globally; hence the chapter on Nigeria can truly be regarded as the microcosm of the skin bleaching culture in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The skin bleaching stories on representative countries in West, Southern, East, Central and North Africa are also discussed. In a globalized world, cosmetic skin bleaching has no boundaries. Hence, some insight is given about skin bleaching in the Caribbean, India, South East Asia, Latin America, North America and the United Kingdom.

“Furthermore, skin bleaching is not only practiced by homeland Africans but also Africans in diaspora. The paradigms and determinants that provide social and cultural impetus towards skin bleaching are extensively characterized, since these factors must be taken into account if meaningful intervention strategies are to be created and employed to counteract the trend towards skin bleaching. The chemicals, products and methods used for skin bleaching and the adverse health effects are clearly described. Finally, guideline recommendations that would help attenuate the burden and possibly eliminate the injuries related to skin bleaching are prescribed. Potential developments and future directions are discussed.”

The book consists of 23 chapters and it is published in two volumes. Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon published the Volume 1, with 772 pages, and costs 42 ponds while the Volume 2 has 438 pages, also published by Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon, and sells at 32 ponds.

The book is distributor and marketed by African Books Collective (ABC), a non-profit Oxford-based Worldwide marketing and distribution outlet. The book is already available from online retailers in books example, African Books—, Barnes & Noble etc.

In this article:
Yetunde Mercy Olumide
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