COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF DERMATOLOGISTS ON SKIN BLEACHING PROCEDURES
January 1st, 2020
The Nigerian Association of Dermatologists (NAD) is a professional body of medical doctors specialized in the field of dermatology: the branch of medicine concerned with disorders and care of the skin, hair, nails, mucous membranes, and sexually transmitted diseases.
In recent times, NAD has noticed an increase in the variety of skin lightening products and procedures flooding the Nigerian market, all promising a fairer or lighter and purportedly more beautiful skin. These products and procedures are advertised and marketed by people who claim to be skin experts or sometimes calling themselves dermatologists. They advertise these products and procedures as safe to use and undergo with no harmful side effects. Some products are promoted and sold in the guise of being all natural (or organic), thus presumably harmless. These products, procedures and promoters are unfortunately not well regulated in the society.
Some of these marketers even administer oral drugs or intravenous injections in addition to applying various noxious substances directly to the skin.
Ominously we see these products and procedures been administered to children and babies who unfortunately have no say in what is being done to them.
The dangers of such products and procedures on our healthy black skin has been highlighted and publicized by our organisation NAD over the years in various fora such as scientific conferences /annual general meetings (AGM), frequent community outreach programs and our yearly WSHD (World Skin Health Day) activities held across the various geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
In July 2018 at Ile-Ife, the 12th Scientific Conference and AGM was themed ‘Skin advocacy: the role of arts, culture and media’ with focus on the good and harmful cultural skin practices. We discussed “The harmful effects of skin bleaching practices, rising patronage by Nigerians, including the ease of purchase and increasing availability of supposedly controlled skin bleaching agents.”
We have engaged the Nigerian people and governments at various levels over multiple platforms in the print and electronic media in the form of interviews and health programs. We have also been active in the social media space such as Facebook, on Twitter and Instagram (@Nigerianderma) and via our website www.nad.org.ng
WE DO NOT ENDORSE ANY OF THE ADVERTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCATING SKIN LIGHTENING IN WHATEVER GUISE. NONE OF OUR MEMBERS ENGAGES IN SUCH UNWHOLESOME PRACTICES.
To reiterate, a dermatologist is a qualified medical doctor fully registered and licensed to practice by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) who has undergone postgraduate training in dermatology. The NAD is the ONLY national association of dermatologists in Nigeria. It is duly registered with affiliates in all the geopolitical zones of the country and international dermatology societies worldwide.
- Encourage and train dermatologists and other allied health care professionals.
- Need to increase interest in dermatology by continuous sensitization of students and resident doctors about the scope and range the specialty.
- Unrelenting advocacy and increased public enlightenment by dermatologists on the menace of skin bleaching.
- Government needs to enforce the regulations on the use and illegal sale of skin bleaching/lightening agents.
- Need for partnership between dermatologists and other stakeholders such as cosmetologists to improve and enhance skin care practices in the country.
- Need for inclusion of dermatologic services in the NHIS
Dr. Grace C. Okudo