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As a Nigerian woman, living in Nigeria, I have noticed the prevalence of the skin bleaching also known as skin lightening procedure practiced by many Nigerian women which often involves the use of very harsh chemicals on their skin in the bid to look whiter. Some women even resort to the use of chemicals such as shampoos and other specific products targeted to work on other less sensitive parts of the body in this bid.
The skin bleaching process involves the use of chemicals such as soaps, creams, serums and sometimes professionally done procedure to aggressively lighten and alter the skin in the aim of looking more attractive or accustoming oneself to a more euro-centric standard of beauty in what many Nigerians term ( Half-caste).
Researchers claim that this particular beauty procedure is also fairly common in other parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
There are some social triggers to this practice. I have concluded on these three factors mainly through immediate societal observation and may not be valid in other societies.
1. Attractiveness: many people in Nigeria and parts of West Africa judge a woman’s attractiveness mainly based on how light her skin is, giving rise to the term ‘Yellow- Fever’ among critics. Darker women are often called too dark or unattractive which limits the number of men in their dating pool and so they resort to skin lightening procedures to fit in and increase their chances of finding a mate.
2. Social Standing: Lighter skinned people in Nigeria are viewed as people of higher social status and often called ‘Aje- butter’ in the local Nigerian term. Due to this, people of the so-called lower status try to lighten their skin to fit in and become identified as those of higher statuses believing that this will greatly improve their social standing and acceptance.
3. Peer Pressure: a number of women have succumbed to pressure when it comes to skin lightening. They build these habits from institutions and are often carried on into life. It becomes addictive and difficult to break.
These factors show that society is majorly to blame when it comes to this harmful procedure and we all need to re-educate ourselves to appreciate our natural skin tones.
We are beautiful, no matter what shade we are in. We need to stop killing our women and start selling the idea that beauty begins from within regardless of the color of our skin.
Related Article: Skin Whiteners and Beauty-the Impact of Global Markets.

Do you think there are any other factors that influence the skin bleaching prevalence in societies? Please share.


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