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Ivory Coast Bans Skin-Whitening Creams




Ivory Coast has banned skin-whitening creams due to fears that they cause lasting damage to health.

The announcement was made via a statement released by the country’s health ministry, which reads in part “Cosmetic lightening and hygiene creams … that depigment the skin … are now forbidden,” Guardian UK reports.

According to the report “the ban affects whitening creams and lotions containing mercury and its derivatives, cortisone, vitamin A or more than two percent hydroquinine, a lightening agent that is used to develop photographs.”

Speaking on the ban, Elidje Ekra, a dermatologist at the Treichville University Hospital in Abidjan, said:

“In our cultures, some people think women with light skin are the most beautiful. This beauty standard … pushes many girls to depigment their skin,” she said.

“What we see in the media is the lighter one’s skin is, the better one’s life,” he added, referring to advertisements that fill the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s biggest city, showing models with lighter-than-average skin. While the craze is most widespread among women, some men use the creams too.”

Christian Doudouko, a member of Ivory Coast’s pharmaceutical authority, warned against the dangers of using such creams, as they can cause skin cancer, and can also lead to and exacerbate hypertension and diabetes.

The report further mentions that use of such creams are even more widespread in Nigeria than Ivory Coast.  Also, creams are also extremely popular in many countries in Asia, including India, Pakistan and Japan, as well as in the Middle East.

Photo Credit: Mocker/ (*Photo is for ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES only*)

Moremi Elekwachi is a Brand Communications expert with over 13 years of experience both locally and internationally. She is the CEO of Euphorique PR, a full-service Public Relations & Marketing Communications agency that helps clients achieve maximum visibility and impact through innovative strategies that cut through the noise. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia, and a Master’s Degree in Marketing Communications from the University of Southern California, in addition to a certification in Integrated Brand Experience from Orange Academy. Prior to establishing Euphorique PR, she worked at prestigious media companies including Wondros (Los Angeles, CA), Wildflower PR, and BellaNaija, where she served as Assistant Editor and Business Development Manager.


  1. gia

    May 7, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Sometimes i have the suspicion that other africans are more intelligent than us nigerians…is this even possible where we come from?

    • Nwanyi Ekwe

      May 7, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Gia you should not judge your people so fast oh… I am from the Ivory-coast and I can tell you that this BAN does not mean anything, ust like the BAN on plastic bags we had last year. It was even a joke amongst people here that the minister that announced this measure has become several shades lighter herself, so who are we fooling?

      They can BAN these things all they want, there will still be underground people making all sorts of concoctions in every market and SPA… It takes more than government decrees to get somewhere. People just need to be educated.

    • Homa

      May 9, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Interesting… just curious, what tribe are you? Your name is very igbo-like. That’s one of the major tribes in Nigeria.

  2. Suwa

    May 7, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Eiyaah fa

  3. Spirit

    May 7, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    On meeting Blacks (i.e. Middle Eastern Blacks who came as slaves from Eastern Africa) in places like Dubai and Doha, one can’t help but notice the amount of aggressive bleaching going on. It is more than I have seen anywhere else. Also, the women wear heavy make up including foundation that is several shades lighter than they are in reality.

  4. mrs salako

    May 7, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Yes I agree with them even in my area they re so many of dem dat don’t even know what they re mixing yet they keep damaging pole akin

  5. nnenne

    May 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    @gia… it was also banned in Nigeria several years ago. Apparently, the ban didn’t work.

  6. Manny

    May 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Interesting. Francophone Africanas can bleach for Africa

  7. njdof

    May 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    why don’t they ban Poverty first instead of banning useless and private things.

  8. le coco

    May 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    i feel lyk this ban is soo stupid… @nwanyi ekwe i agree with you.. it will not yield results…. this is why africa is forever losing.. our lawmakers are spending tax payer money discussing stupid issues such as bleaching? really.. i understand tht bleaching is bad for the skin and the health.. but it is a choice that people make… nobody is forcing any woman to bleach.. i think africa has too many issues to deal with first, before focusing on such stupid things.. make laws that make it mandatory for every child to be in skool, laws instead of stupid laws such as the promotion of child marriage in nigeria, the promotion of polygamy in kenya, and this stupid bleaching thing..

    • Nwanyi Ekwe

      May 7, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      You can say that again!! All these are distractions from real issues.

    • Drknite

      May 7, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      @LE COCO I concur with you on Africa having many issues. Bleaching is one of this issues and should be taking seriously. If a significant part of the population is using a product that is dangers and can lead to serious health implications than it most be address and taking seriously. Using products with Mercury cannot only cause issues for ladies using it but also their unborn babies. We are talking about cancers and other serious illness that can cripple a country ability to survive. The currently medical care and technology in Africa is not the greatest. Add that to the health issue that could develop from bleaching and you can see why that could have a bad impact on a country.

      I’m not even going to discuss the issue of self-worth and beauty.

  9. Tosin

    May 7, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    1. Black is beautiful.
    2. Bleaching is damaging to good skin.

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