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“It Makes You Clean”! Rich Kenyans Inject themselves with Black Market Creams to be Lighter



Kenyans - June 2014 -
Pretty hurts…and a lot of people don’t mind the pain.

The act of lightening one’s skin with harmful cosmetic products, which is often referred to as bleaching, continues to be a non-stop trend not only in Nigeria, but in Africa at large.

In an interview with, a skin lightening expert along the River Road, Nairobi, Kenya, Rose speaks on a fast method with which the country’s elite lighten their skin.

Where her business is located is known  for its “backstreet beauticians” who promise clients they will look younger and wait for it – ten shades lighter.

“You must only use a small amount, otherwise you can become albino. This is strong stuff,” Rose says as she unwraps a syringe and a needle, then fills the syringe with pink cream which costs up to $70 (N11, 455).

The content over years has caused health scare as its known to contain high mercury content.

Rose says “The injection lightens you from inside. It makes women clean. If you want an event colour and fast results, injecting is much better than a cream.

Most of my clients are wealthy and some are national celebrities. Many are Somali or Indian. But, those ones never come to my shop. They send a driver with a photo of their skin color and I supply what they need.

Some girls go back to their village and tell them the water of Nairobi made them lighter. There is great shame for wanting to change what God gave you.”

One of Rose’s clients (seen pictured above) reveals that her dream is to be as white as an European, claiming her “husband prefers half-caste women to darker girls”. I get more male attention now that I am lighter she finishes.

The liquid is described as one “which peels off rough/tough layers of skin” and you’ll see visible results in two weeks.


  1. Thatgidigirl

    June 5, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    I’m saving up for a dialysis machine, thats where the money would be in the future. I shall be ready for business when this beaching epidemic catches up with them, and their kidneys can’t handle it anymore.

    • Sasha

      June 5, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Hahahahha hahahaha damn! Dts some future plans…
      But this is rather ridiculous @ skin lightening injection

    • stupidityslayer

      June 6, 2014 at 5:47 am

      How can I invest in your business?


      June 6, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Please babe, i will like to be a silent partner for this business jare….hahahaha.these people are just crazy.

    • Anon

      June 6, 2014 at 11:34 am

      Walahi, can I come and work for you?

    • nene

      June 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      nne u have strong business mind! guru gawk! lol

    • nene

      June 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      nne u have strong business mind! buru gawa ! lol

    • joan

      June 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Hahahahahahaha you are a good business woman and strategist, abeg me sef will join you in the business when its time………..anything to be light skinned if only they know its harder to maintain such skin

    • mujer

      June 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      on point! The Kidneys go first so while we are running dialysis shops perhaps we should also startup special schools for their spawn who’d end up with significant cognitive deficits.

    • Chidinma

      June 15, 2014 at 11:32 am

      how do I invest ooo.. I wan b silent partner!!

  2. slice

    June 5, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    “pretty hurts” No, stUPid hurts


    June 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    So you mean Lupita is not inspirational enough for them? What a shame.

  4. Miss Mo

    June 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Na wetin dey hungry some people go kill them. Smh…

  5. Alice

    June 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Honestly this is getting crazy. Had to comment. Smooth blemish-free skin is all you need, even if you are very dark it does not matter. I saw a beautiful black lady the other day shopping. Really dark like beautiful mahogany to ebony, pushing a baby buggy. She had thick light brown braids piled high in a bun. I don’t think her husband is stupid. African women should really try to not give in to this pressure to conform to lightness. You look best in your original colour. If the woman is very dark and her kids are dark does that mean she will desire to bleach her children as well, just so that it looks like they are all light skinned. Some of us, a lot of us, need to get a grip.

    • nene

      June 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      bleachers are still in the minority in nigeria and africa, so don’t bother yourself.

  6. Cancel Reply

    June 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Injecting mecury in your blood stream!!Ah!!

  7. Ikido

    June 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    SMH!!!!, women and their level of gullibility is astonishing.

  8. Mariah

    June 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    The problem is not as widespread as the article claims in Kenya I live here and for every bleached Kenyan babe there are 5 dark skinned Kenyan women and 4 other naturally light skinned ones. And river road aka bleaching cream capital in Nairobi is not new it has been there since I was a little girl and it was mostly women from Congo and Uganda who were the major customers and suppliers back then they were cream mixologists. Bleaching is considered very shameful here and few people who do will ever own up to the fact that they do so. For the Indian ladies she talks about it is a cultural thing where fair is considered better so to get a husband as an Indian chic you need to be fair it’s the mindset that the female generation carried from the home country and passed on to their daughters.

  9. Wale

    June 6, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Rich BUT ignorant. There is nothing as dangerous as an ignorant person with money. How can anyone with wisdom have a market woman inject them with anything,talk less of Mercury, one of the most dangerous substances known to man? If they are really rich there are qualified dermatologists that would do this in a controlled and sanitary environment with better results. Foolish money miss road. In fact, when did being black become “dirty”. There is nothing more disgusting than a woman that lightens her skin, wears weaves and fake everything else. Unless of course she works on broadway (either in the theaters or outside the theaters -wink).

    • Bella

      June 6, 2014 at 9:34 am

      My dear hold on for a minute – this your statement saying “There is nothing more disgusting than a woman wears weaves and fake everything” . we use weaves, and put on eyelashes and have manicured tips to enhance what we have. WHy is this now considered disgusting, abeg you are being too harsh!. I am naturally light skinned and I weave to protect my own natural hair underneath, I have medium manicured nails and enhance my beauty with Mac foundation and eyeslash, I don’t think id classify myself as disgusting. Please if you fee like you prefer a woman with no weave and no make up then that is your own choice, don’t label all of us as disgusting abeg! take a minute to sit down and have a cold drink.

    • Wale

      June 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      God made you perfect already, there is no need to enhance what is beautiful. I was stating my preference. I am sure your man digs you with all your enhancement. Secretly, he would probably love you more without the extras. There is nothing sexier than running my fingers through my babe’s hair without the horror of getting caught in a web of thread.

    • Kina

      June 7, 2014 at 6:23 am


  10. pynk

    June 6, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Ahn ahn BN. A few of the Nigerian celebs you try to impose on us have been using injections since when. I am mixed race and I don’t remember seeing this many light skin people as a child for them to have turned into adults. I know men who ask for childhood pictures now before they take many light skin women serious. Or even ask to visit their homes to meet their parents. And yes the bleaching is even, as many mixed race people even have evidence of blackness somewhere on their bodies, mine is my elbows.

    Our nigerian mothers who were dedicated bleachers who are now in their 50s are in hospitals already undergoing dialysis even with some pledging to bleach till they die. One woman who my mother counselled while on dialysis, told my mom who is a foreigner she couldn’t stop bleaching and mother is white so she shouldn’t preach about not bleaching to her. My mom is a medical professional.

  11. TechnicallyNigerian

    June 6, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Kai i had to comment. I don’t understand why African women are being deceived that they need to be lighter to be considered beautiful. Me i am even more concerned for them because of the health risks involved. Injecting such toxic substances is not healthy; even using those substances on your skin is dangerous. There is risk for developing skin cancer and other internal cancers that might not show up until years after. African women need to be educated about this and carefully weigh the cost as they buy those products. The health systems are already terrible in Africa and insufficient to manage cancer cases for many underserved individuals. The whole mentality of beauty needs to change seriously.

  12. Mrs A

    June 6, 2014 at 5:47 am

    What a shame!
    I remember when I was getting married, someone asked, “Aren’t you going to bleach a little for your wedding?”
    God forbid! Have you seen what people that bleach look like when they are old. They don’t age well at all. After scraping all the protective layers of your skin off. Your skin won’t heal as well, if you have any sort of injury.
    We need serious public education about the dangers of bleaching.
    Im not talking about clearing acne scares or blemishes. Im talking about head to toe bleaching.

    It’s just very mind boggling that people will ingest pills and allow themselves be injected all in the name of getting lighter.

  13. sum1special

    June 6, 2014 at 9:14 am

    We should have seen a picture of the result. I am almost certain that bleachers are going to burn someday. Like someone will literally light up on fire just because they want to lighten their skin.

  14. Seriously

    June 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Why don’t you talk about Nigerian celebrities that bleach. I have lived both in Kenya and Nigeria and the bleaching disease is not as widespread in Kenya as it is in Nigeria. In fact the article was originally about one of our ‘socialites’ bleaching. Something she only began to do when she got a Nigerian boyfriend.. And with the influx of Nigerian men in kenya a lot of women looking for love in all the wrong places are bleaching themselves silly in the hopes of landing Nigerian men. Kenyan men don’t really care about skin tone, Kenyan men care about big behinds and big boobs. (There was a craze sometime back of women eating chicken feed to increase their behinds and their boobs) We are governed by our men.. It’s about time African women stood up and defined our own standards of beauty and told our men to stop killing us..

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      June 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      This is the most silly comment I have read since Bella Naija decided to blog. Are you kidding me? So Nigerian men are the cause of the bleaching epidemic in Kenya? HUH? Did you read your comment? And for your information, a white colleague of mine did her dissertation on black men and white women relationships. Some Kenyan men prefer white women to Kenyan black women. Even though the sample size is small, the results are telling. So where did Nigerian men come in again? Kenyan women have agency, if they are looking for love from Nigerian men, they have every right to refuse it if bleaching one’s skin is a condition for love. Unless you are telling me that Kenyan women are so daft and stupid that if a Nigerian man requires them to jump into lake they will gladly jump because of love then the problem is not Nigerian men, but the level of IQ of Kenyan women. I pray to God Nigerian men do not end up with such. We have enough daft and stupid people in Nigeria to import any from another African country. Bleaching is EVERYWHERE. In China, India, Russia, America, Europe, South America, and AFRICA. Everywhere the white man touched a sudden attack of self confidence emanates. It is not a secret. So do not come here to pit Nigeria against Kenya as if Kenya is something to write home about. Please think before you make baseless generalizations. And for the record, I am not a Nigerian man.

  15. Bella

    June 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    This bleaching issue has gone way to far o. What is all this? are Kenyans no longer educated about the risks of such drastic behaviour, which kin chemical has ever been correct for your body via such dangerous transfusions, do you know if you have allergies to it or what? if your heart stops in the midst of this injection then what? My people o, there is a fine line between vanity and stupidity o. Please lets all take a moment to think of the risks involved here before we think of the instant gratification process. Bleaching is dangerous o. I no dey fit shout!

  16. Fashionista

    June 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    knock knock knocking on Cancer’s door…… *singing*

    • idomagirl

      June 6, 2014 at 10:33 pm


    • baby

      June 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      puyaka puyaka pukaya #inraskimono’svoice lolzzzzzzz

  17. Priscy

    June 6, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Pela, see ur competition here o.
    Like seriously, why go thru all this just to be light skinned. There’s a colleague of mine who is dark. You need to see how beautiful she is, she does not even use makeup o. Men flock over her coz she is smart, attractive, well dressed and confident in her beautiful skin.

  18. Mimi

    June 6, 2014 at 10:02 am

    This epidemic has been ongoing and is here to stay so lets just move away from this topic. I remember our nanny used to use simba and this was over 30 years ago. Then we had the era of tempovate and demovate. As a recruiter, I ask companies to be specific about their job requirements and shockingly some will say please if female, she must be ‘YELLOW’ like you. Met a guy at the airport and he said to me ‘ Naija man spec’. One lady said’ ‘yellow is the new colour of success’ and another said her biggest fear in life is to lose her ‘colour’. Met a lady at an exhibition who had a spa and she called me to her stand and said ‘girl, I know you are fair but you need one tone up for the perfect glow’, LOL! So little wonder then that women who unfortunately have not been raised to have self confidence then resort to all means to be fair.

  19. Yvonne

    June 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

    This is really a case of trouble dey sleep wahala wan wake am… or should i say cancer dey sleep awon bleachers wan wake am.

  20. I regret bleaching!!!!

    June 6, 2014 at 11:28 am

    My greatest regret in life is that I bleached my skin! I look @ my old pics and I feel sad and always asking myself “Why”??? I v thrown away all the bleaching mixture and reverted to Olay to heal my skin from scar and try restore me to normalcy

  21. @edDREAMZ

    June 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Am guessing the cream will also affect their womb so that even though they gave birth their kids will be yellow ryt…?

  22. Pot, Kettle, Black!

    June 6, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    From Punch Magazine
    “…The World Health Organisation has adjudged Nigeria as the country with the highest number of women who use skin-lightening products in the world? In a recent skin bleaching snap survey conducted by NOI Polls from February 3 – 5, and published on March 18, 2014 in Abuja, the polling agency said the assessment result confirms the submission of WHO on the endemic nature of skin bleaching among Nigerian women.
    Recall that a report in The Vanguard newspaper of June 3, 2013 had said the WHO had indicated that 77 per cent of women in Nigeria use skin-bleaching products being the highest in the world. The figure compares with 59 per cent in Togo, and 27 per cent in Senegal. Asians are facing a similar trend as 4 out of 10 women in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan use a skin-whitening cream”.
    So what were you saying about Kenyans? Mschwwwww! This article smacks of hypocrisy. Ah begi clean your own house first!

    • maggie

      June 7, 2014 at 12:13 am

      Nija women use Charisma glow……

  23. maria

    June 6, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    wow!!! this people are stupid, ignorant and dumb. when will we start to learn to love ourselves, and stop this ugly men from making us feel ugly. this is ridiculous why is the woman giving the injection not light skinned she is allergic to her own medicine. i cant shout. we need to learn that until we learn to accept, love and cherish ourselves no one can.

  24. AKUA

    June 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm


  25. Lady

    June 7, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Sigh this is getting out of hand… Even normal soaps like pears or dudu osun are hard to find in the supermarkets…err thing is toning this or whitening that…

  26. kay

    June 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Sorry to disappoint you but it is considered inferior in Kenya to bleach. This is common amongst Nigerian and Congolese women not Kenyans.

  27. Cool cat

    June 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Between glutathione and mercury injections I don’t know which is worse. One is pure toxins the other is treatment given to cancer patients undergoing chemo. Women actually hear this and still choose to inject themselves. Whether we like it or not, Nigerian women have the highest number of bleachers to the point where it has become acceptable.

  28. Miss Mo

    June 8, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Lmaooooo @ “Cancer dey sleep, bleachers won go wake am” lololol 😀

    • baby

      June 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      wahala dem dey find,wahala dem go ge ti ooooo #infela’svoice

  29. mujer

    June 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    If Someone asks you to bleach while dating you is it not clear to you that they are not even looking at/ seeing you? what does that say to you as someone with brains, Kenyan advocate?

  30. kemi

    June 14, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    its funny how this article is talking about d destructive nature of bleaching and the google advert on this page is still advertising bleaching

  31. Imapisces

    June 19, 2014 at 1:21 am

    In the photo . . . How come the woman injecting the other woman is not light or lighter skinned? Does she not believe to use her own product for herself? No difference in the skin color. Both women are the same color. SMH

    I would never have anything colored pink or other colored liquid injected inside me. Very dangerous! Only real doctors can give real injections for medical purposes.

  32. Livy

    August 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I resent the title stating that it is ‘Rich’ Kenyans that participate in this detrimental acts promoted by Western Media. It is in fact the lower to middle class individuals in Kenya that perpetuate the culture and beliefs concerning lighter skinned females that they term as ‘Yellow-bone’ in keeping with the popular music lines from Hip-Hop and Ragga music beloved by these social classes.

    Kenyan elite recognize this as a symptom of the Black inferiority complex suffered by Blacks in Western Countries and South Africa who’s society’s promote fair skinned females. Elite Kenyans date women of any skin color attracted by their beauty and intelligence.

  33. NAZHY

    July 24, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Alright guys let’s all admit y’all here to lighten your skin. The only injecting process for skin lightening that is proven safe is glutathione.
    Much more than the $70 can cost up to $1000 and more.
    This pink lotion contains mecury our body may reject and you end up red instead plus precautions have to be followed after, you must be least exposed to the sun your shower temperature and so on.
    Glutathione is substance present in our bodies thus the body isn’t exposed to something new, there’s no side effect that’s proven unless you choose the wrong (replicas) kind of substance.
    Good news, you may not have to inject, they come in pills too that cost about $90 or so,a month’s doze.
    This is not supposed to be mistaken for medical advice.
    Hope this is helpful.

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