Ghana made a giant leap in the global fight against the systematic struggle of colorism by announcing a ban on skin bleaching products, beginning in August.
In a statement to Face To Face Africa, the country’s food and drug administration spokesperson, James Lartey, confirmed the products will no longer be imported to the country:
“Concerning skin lightening products, we are saying that from August 2016, all products containing hydroquinone will not be allowed into the country. From 2016, the acceptance for skin lightening products is going to be zero.”
Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent that has been linked to cancer causing agents, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It can also cause rashes, burning, and skin irritation. The chemical is already banned in the United States, Japan, Australia, and parts of Europe.
Ghana’s storied history with skin bleaching is unfortunately still prevalent, as many celebrities and youth actively use creams to achieve lighter skin. Recently, Ghanaian boxer Bukom Banku admitted to bleaching to secure an ambassadorship to Germany from President John Mahama in a April radio interview.
Nigeria also faces a skin bleaching epidemic. Al Jazeera reports that 70 percent of Nigerian women admitted to using skin bleaching cream, compared to 59 percent in Togo and 27 percent in Senegal.