By Moses Muwulya
A deplorable number of women and men in Uganda, elite and not, think that being dark skinned is being less attractive, and resort to bleaching their skin to achieve a lighter skin tone, which to them means beauty.
In their quest for this perceived beauty, certain cosmetics, pills and injections are used, depending on the financial muscle of the bleacher, regardless of the huge health damage harbored in using them, ranging from something as light as acne to devastating skin cancer as experts stress.
But most importantly, especially to Christians bracing skin bleaching, it is a sin against God as revealed in the different books in the Bible. God places a high value on our bodies as well as our hearts.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own,” according to 1 Corinthians 6:19.
The Psalmist said, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14). A Christian who bleaches should know that she/he is destroying God’s temple. Still in Genesis 1:27, the bible says, God created man in his own image.
If you ever consider yourself unremarkable or even ordinary, you’re not seeing yourself as a result of God’s divine creation. When we discover the truth that we are God’s unique design, it is overwhelming.
For different reasons, God gave us different skin colors and one of them is that our different living environment need us to have different skin colors.
For example, in cold climatic regions such as Europe, inhabitants tend to have a lighter complex due to the cold weather, whereas in Africa, darker skin is better suited in the hot and humid climate. Thus, it is not by mistake that God gave us a dark skin complexion.
Going back to the health effects of bleaching, experts note Chemical bleaching can lead to serious skin and health conditions which include: permanent skin bleaching, thinning of skin, uneven color loss, leading to a blotchy appearance, redness and intense irritation, dark grey spots, skin cancer, acne, increase in appetite and weight gain, osteoporosis, neurological and kidney damage due to high level of mercury used in the creams, psychiatric disorders, asthma, liver damage and severe birth defects in children born to mothers who abuse certain chemicals.
There is evidence to prove that most types of skin-whitening products use active ingredients (such as mercurous chloride) and hydroquinone which are certainly extremely harmful and caused skin cancer.
Hydroquinone has now been banned in Europe and in many other countries can only be prescribed by a doctor for certain skin conditions.
Skin cancer is reported as one of the dangerous effects that bleachers and it might be just a matter of time before we have a full blown epidemic in Uganda
Doctors sadly note that the biggest problem is that by the time someone realizes signs of the effects, the damage is already done.
One of victim who preferred anonymity told me she was warned several times to stop bleaching, however lured by her ex-spouse, could not pay attention to the doctors and only continued to bleach.
She is now suffering the bitter fate of it, including stigma and vows never to bleach again.
“I have witnessed the worst out of bleaching and the don’t think I can bleach any more, I fear associating with people, because of my multi colored skin” She shares adding: ” My wish is to see government banning importation of such cosmetics and save the many ladies who are addicts of bleaching”
She says ladies have to appreciate that black is Gold and should not be driven by the worldly definition of beauty, saying confidence about the beauty of the black skin must be restored and denounce the age old belief/ saying, “Nutten Black nuh Good!”