Talking drummer Ara urges Nigeria to follow the example of Rwanda and ban skin lightening products

TALKING drummer Aralola Olumuyiwa popularly known as Ara has called on the federal government to follow the recent example of Rwanda and place a ban on the sale and use of skin-lightening products across the country.


Earlier this week, Rwanda's President Paul Kagame banned the use and sale of cosmetic products for skin-lightening across the country. Francois Uwinkindi of the Cancer Unit in Rwanda’s health ministry said the government wants local people to love their skin the way it is.


He added: “We are now putting more efforts into educating people, going around and seizing those illegal products. We are joining those countries which are also into the fight against the use of illegal skin-lightening cosmetics."


Latching on to the campaign, Nigerian talking drummer, Ara, said that skin-lightening soaps and other such cosmetics would always have adverse health implications on users. She said that the decision by the government of Rwanda to ban the products was a step in the right direction to ensure the sound health of its citizenry.


According to Ara, placing a ban on the sale of the products may not eradicate its use completely but it will minimise the rate. She added that people who use these dangerous products do not bear the brunt alone, as it also affects their loved ones when users begin to feel the effects of the creams or soaps.


Ara added: “This is a good development, which should be replicated in Nigeria. We have seen many people who have developed skin cancer, irritation and other ailments as a result of using skin-lightening products.


“The federal government should work on this and ensure that most of these products are not produced in the country and ban their importation as well. This may not eradicate their use, but it will definitely minimise it."


Also, medical practitioner, Dr Ayopo Adeyemi, said that the use of skin lightening creams and soaps could result in skin cancer. She said that such products could expose the endothelial cells of the skin to wear and tear.


Dr Adeyemi explained that the endothelial cells form a one-cell thick-walled layer called endothelium that lines all the blood vessels such as arteries, arterioles, venules, veins and capillaries. According to her, some other dangers associated with skin bleaching include burning or redness, skin diseases, liver and kidney damage, among others.


“Bleaching of the skin is dangerous because it always has various adverse effects on the health of those doing it. We must stop using creams with dangerous chemicals and go for moisturisers, instead,” Dr Adeyemi said.


She added that suturing a bleached skin after an accident is always difficult, adding that even if the skin could be sutured, it would continue to break down. Nigeria has the largest skin bleaching market in Africa.