“Whiter skin in 15 days”: fury in Dakar at skin whitening cream advert

 
The wolof expression “Khess Petch” means “all white.” It is also the name of a brand new skin whitening cream that has been advertised throughout Dakar in the past few days. Our Observer calls for the government to legislate against the marketing of this cream that is deemed to be a health hazard.
 
The enormous placards in the streets of Dakar promise that the "Khess Petch" cream will brighten your skin in 15 days. To support this claim, the advertisements show "before" and "after" pictures of a woman using the “miracle product.”
 
The cream, however, was quickly being condemned on social media. An online petition urging the Ministry of Health to end the advertising campaign launched on September 8 and gathered more than 1,000 signatures in four days. The cream’s critics, who include dermatologists, warn that the cream contains a strong corticosteroid, clobetasol propionate, an ingredient that dermatologists say should only be prescribed by health professionals in cases of serious skin diseases.
 
Skin depigmentation is common in Africa, where the sale of skin whitening products is legal in many countries. People resort to using the creams out of aesthetic concerns based on the idea that fairer skin leads to greater social and economic success. Most of these cheap skin whitening products are made using corticosteroids and hydroquinone (illegal in the European Union), which are harmful and carcinogenic when applied in significant doses on skin. The regular use of these products leads to itching, varicose veins, and stains, but also to a strong dependence due to the product’s penetration into the bloodstream.
  
Picture of the controversial advertisement by our Observer Natty Seydi in Dakar.
Contributors

“We must convince women that being dark skinned is not a shameful thing”

Kiné Fatim Diop is a Senegalese activist who works on protecting women’s rights. She is one of the initiators of the online petition against the “Khess Petch” advertising campaign, which was submitted on September 12 to the Ministry of Health.
  
This is the first time that we see a campaign of this size for a skin whitening cream in Dakar. The posters are on each of the main roads of the city, where one would usually find advertisements for milk for babies, for instance. When I saw the posters last week, I was so shocked that I immediately tweeted about it. Many other Internet users were equally angered, and we decided to launch an online petition to ask the authorities to put an end to this campagin. In the meantime, we are trying to determine who the manufacturer is, since there are no indications on the box.
 
Of course, we know that this type of product is sold throughout Dakar on the markets, in stores, and in pharmacies. Regardless of social class, women buy them. It’s a completely legal business, and the prices are affordable for everyone. For instance, a 50 gram tube of “Khess Petch” costs less than 2 euros in the Yoff neigbhourhood market. But I’m concerned that these posters will convince even more people to buy the product. Furthermore, this campaign is a good occasion to kick-start debate on this issue.
 
“So long as influential members of civil society and the political spheres do not set a good example, this phenomenon will continue”
 
Unlike those countries where skin whitening creams are illegal, like France, skin whitening here is not taboo — quite the contrary, in fact. Being fair-skinned in Senegal means being beautiful and successful. TV presenters, celebrities, and even political women who whiten their skin continue to perpetrate this fad, despite the well-known harmful effects of these products. So long as influential members of civil society and the political spheres do not set a good example, this phenomenon will continue.
 
But above all, it is the government’s role to take the initiative and make this a public health priority, with the support of nonprofits. There should be educational programs to explain that there is no shame in being dark-skinned, and there should also be laws forbidding the import, sale, and marketing of these products [editor’s note: in Burkina Faso, advertising for whitening creams has been illegal since 2006].
 

Comments

Reply to comment | The Observers

wonderful put up, very informative. I ponder why
the opposite specialists of this sector don't realize this. You must proceed your writing. I'm
sure, you have a great readers' base already!

Reply to comment | The Observers

That is very attention-grabbing, You are a very skilled blogger.
I've joined your rss feed and stay up for in search of extra of your wonderful post. Additionally, I've shared your website in
my social networks

Reply to comment | The Observers

Hey would you mind letting me know which web host you're using? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog
loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good internet
hosting provider at a honest price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

Worst president in history

This is what happens when you have the worst president in the 236 year history of the United States.

How is Obama’s Arab Spring working out for you folks who believed his propaganda in 2008. Under his followship, the United States of America has gone from the Shining Light of Freedom on the Hill, to the laughing stock of the world.
And the worst part is, he has no idea what to do, other than say give me four more years.

Our allies, if we have any left, have no confidence in us, and our enemies, of whom we have many, think, we are a joke, and the country is on the verge of bankruptcy

How could anyone even consider four more years of this? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

In typical Obama style, he is already blaming the Murder of Ambassador Stevens and his three associates, on US soil, on Mitt Romney, and by the end of the day will probably be blaming President George W Bush. Before he blames President Bush, he better keep in mind that during his administration, Egypt was an ally of both the United States and Israel.

Today Obama says Egypt is no longer our ally, but he is still going to send them two billion dollars anyway. I wish he would pass around whatever he is smoking.

Sometimes when someone is not doing their job, you just have to let them go. Clint Eastwood.

It must really suck to be a

It must really suck to be a white racist in America these days.

Worst president in history

It is a pity that within these four years of the presidency of president Obama many people still do not get it what an intelligent person they have as president of their country. Have you people already forgotten them GW Bush-years? Have you already forgotten what a mess GW Bush left his beloved great nation America in, after his eight years of presidency?

If yes, then vote for the republican warmonger, you deserve no better.
But be warned when you vote for him. He got "big plans" for America. He is going to set records straight.

He loves America so much that he put his money savely in external taxhavens so that your Revenue cannot touch it. Tax-money that your country will be missing, that you people will be missing, year on year.
Then he is going to help his fellow American friends to pay less tax and less or no allowances anymore for the the rest of you. And you are going to pay more for services because due to less tax for the rich to very rich people.
And he will be sure you will get no Obamacare. He is going to scrap it.

Cheers and good luck to you, the American voters.

That makes sense.

So you are saying that the presence of skin whitening cream advertisements in Senegal is the result of the election of Barack Obama. No wonder so many people think we Americans are idiots.

Right

Yes.
Fool me once, shame on DEM.
Fool me twice, shame on U.S.

You can either be the example or excuse.
Romney= The example
obummer= The excuse

It's George Bush's Fault

If there is controversy involved or if there is a downside to this or anything, it is George Bush's fault. There is simply no debating that. If you are unsure of this, ask any of the media sources or reporters in America or Europe and they will confirm it for you.

You could not find any other

You could not find any other site where to troll your opinions? Move out of US if you do not like the place, I am sure the country will not miss you.

Close