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Parents Gone Wild: Bleaching Children's Skin

by Oluseye Igbafe

                     

 I heard about this for the first time a year ago at the birthday party of a friend's child. One of our mutual friends walked up to me and after pleasantries, said to me:

“Sis, your daughter is very pretty oh.”
“Thanks”, I replied.
"What cream do you use for her?” She asked
"Cream?! I use Johnson Baby lotion."
"Only?! What do you use to bring out her colour?” she persisted.
“I don’t really understand you,” I answered her, “What colour am I bringing out?”
"No oh, you should use something that will bring out her colour. Don’t you know she will be prettier (sic) if she has fair skin?”

I cringed inwardly. All the while, I had struggled to believe she couldn’t possibly be saying what I thought she was saying.
“You mean I should start bleaching her skin? At what age and why would I do such a crazy thing?! It’s not necessary my dear,” I answered her firmly.
"It is oh my big sister. Especially for a girl but not bleaching; haba, not even toning! It’s just to bring out her colour oh and it’s not a sin," she said. "Even you should bring out your colour more,” she added.

I swallowed my raging retorts and simply said, “I hope you don’t do that for your son? He is way too small to have anything being rubbed on him. I beg of you."
*Well, since he is naturally fair-skinned, I am just maintaining it, I have been mixing his cream with Movate since he was born,” she replied
I was unable to dissuade her before we got interrupted and I eventually forgot about the conversation. Till about 2 weeks ago.


I walked into a supermarket and saw a heavily bleached woman with three beautiful girls who were looking “toned”. Their faces were conspicuously lighter than the rest of their body and their knees and knuckles were quite dark. Their ages ranged from age 10 to possibly 5.

I then decided to research the concept of parents bleaching their kids and what I found out is that there is indeed a craze for fair-skinned children; and many parents are turning their dark skinned children to fair-skinned. They claim they are helping their kids maintain their “natural skin colour”.

A lady told me it’s not bleaching or toning if it’s done with natural products. She uses Shea butter, Turmeric, Lime/Lemon, Camphor etc. to prepare “natural” soap for her daughter. Another lady recommends mixing their creams with hydrocortisone or clomatrizole creams for a “clear” smooth skin. I was simply shocked.

First, I think this generation has totally gone bunkers with vanity. No, this isn’t vanity, its shallowness of the highest order. I wrote a post last year on Sexualization of Children and though it went viral, I can assure you we are getting worse.

Why does your child need to be fair  to be beautiful? What is the correlation? Where did that concept come from? What happened to Black is Beautiful? I believe every child is beautiful and even then the very beautiful ones are not just beautiful because of their skin tone but their facial structure and features.



Secondly, it’s way too early to start enhancing your child’s features to promote beauty. Children should have no vanity issues. Again I say, allow them to be children and do not give them self-esteem issues by acting as though they are not beautiful enough. Tell your children, they are beautiful irrespective of their skin colour or tone. If you as a parent can’t accept them for who they are or what skin tone they have, how do you expect them to grow into confident women who value themselves?

Lastly, do you have any idea the possible side-effects these creams will have on their skin? Rubbing chemicals on their skin for years could possibly be setting them up for skin cancer. I mean, a lot of those creams contain Mercury and hydrocortisone which have been linked to cancer even in adults.

And please do not hide behind, “I only use natural stuff so it’s harmless”.  Are those things meant to be rubbed into the skin? Is Turmeric meant to be rubbed into the skin every day? Lime and lemons are acidic and will definitely have their own effect. Camphor?

I know Shea butter is good but your motive should be just to Oil or moisturize their skin to prevent it from dryness. If there is a vanity aim to your “natural method” then you are part of the problem.

Leave your child’s skin alone. Don’t set him or her up for future problems due to your own narrow view of beauty. Personally, I believe parents who bleach or tone their child’s skin should be arrested and prosecuted. It is the height of irresponsibility.

Let’s allow children to be children. Let them know whether they black, brown, yellow or white, they are all beautiful.


Comments

  1. Wow! My mouth is hanging open in utter disbelief. Why would anybody do this to themselves let alone a child? The world has gone mad again!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Funke. There are a lot of practices out there that people engage in without any understanding of the possible implication and effects. This is one of them and a dangerous one. Hopefully with this information they will know better.

      Delete
  2. Hey! I feel real bad about this. With the miriad of health problems out there, parents dare do this? Again, how can a parent start so early to set up her own daughter/son as a sex tool. Distracting your own child with your vain disposition is just the height of it! And we wonder why a child would not make good grades in school abi, when you've indirectly started teaching her to be unreasonably conscious of her looks in a negative way? Hmmmm, God help us o.... Thanks sis for the good job. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My sister this post is speaking to me! I'm naturally very fair skinned and I have two daughters. They are both fair skinned buy not as light as me. People keep telling me to use what I'm using for them and they don't believe I use Nivea. We should teach our kids to be kind hardworking and industrious. To be respectful and honest and not that beauty is their passport to a better life

    ReplyDelete
  4. My sister this post is speaking to me! I'm naturally very fair skinned and I have two daughters. They are both fair skinned buy not as light as me. People keep telling me to use what I'm using for them and they don't believe I use Nivea. We should teach our kids to be kind hardworking and industrious. To be respectful and honest and not that beauty is their passport to a better life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Please do not mind them! Since you are naturally fair, most likely they will be too. As parents our responsibility is to protect our children and prevent future health challenges for them as much as possible not be the cause of it.

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  5. The parents have self esteem issues and are sadly passing them on to their poor kids. The repercussions both emotional and healthwise are unbelievably harmful. God help them.

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  6. thanks for commenting. Its really a sad o when parents pass of their insecurities to their children.

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  7. 'Vanity','vainglory' and 'seared conscience'. That is the picture of today's frivolous generation. To drag innocent children into such foolish ostentation is abominably dangerous. When a child starts that early on orientations and exposures to OUTLOOKS, surely the child's attention to moral values,together with his/her academic concentration...all are definitely sacrificed... sold out to the consequences that trail. What is there to even talk about CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE when the girl-child herself is forcibly made into 'adulthood' by our decadent parents! We surely reap only what we sow. My only concern is that evil is hardly ever restricted to some stagnancy upon its perpetrators. EVIL is a web that spirals in society ...a degenerating society.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 'Vanity','vainglory' and 'seared conscience'. That is the picture of today's frivolous generation. To drag innocent children into such foolish ostentation is abominably dangerous. When a child starts that early on orientations and exposures to OUTLOOKS, surely the child's attention to moral values,together with his/her academic concentration...all are definitely sacrificed... sold out to the consequences that trail. What is there to even talk about CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE when the girl-child herself is forcibly made into 'adulthood' by our rich, decadent parents! We surely reap only what we sow. My only concern is that evil is hardly ever restricted to some stagnancy upon its perpetrators. EVIL is a web that spirals in society ...a degenerating society.

    ReplyDelete
  9. MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT CONTINUE TO INSPIRE YOU WITH SUCH WISDOM AND REVELATIONS AS YOU HELP TO CONVEY THE RIGHTEOUS WAY OF GROWING CHILDREN INTO OUR PARENTS AND SOCIETY IN JESUS MIGHTY NAME. AMEN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am shocked that any loving parent would want to subject their children to this...I am fair skinned and I would have other women asking me "what cream do you use? My daughter is dark skinned like her dad.....I have told her " God loves all the children of the world, red yellow, black or white" we are bigger than the colour of our skin.

      Delete

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