KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo has urged people to avoid using dangerous skin lightening and bleaching products.
Such products can cause skin cancer and even premature death, Dhlomo said in a statement on Saturday. “Over decades we have seen people blemished and disfigured, especially among the African and Indian groups, due to the use of skin lighteners,” he said.
“Wrong notions were being promoted to the effect that to be black, especially if you were particularly dark, was loaded with negative stereotypes. Several products promising miraculous transformations were then manufactured and marketed specifically to the black community.
“Consequently many black women and black men have mutilated their bodies and have even died because they used products containing harsh chemicals that promised peace of mind in a bottle,” he said.
The department officially launched an anti-skin lightening and bleaching campaign in Durban on Friday 26 August.