Skin-lightening creams: Woman ‘not recognised’ by father

Binti Asumani moved to the UK from Tanzania in 2013 with her husband and son. Two years later, she started using skin-lightening creams.

She said: “I wanted to change my colour because I saw my lady friends were light-skinned and I looked at myself and thought: ‘Why should I not look beautiful?'”

Ms Asumani asked around to see where these products were sold and her friends directed her to the local market, where she was able to buy a strong skin-lightening cream.

Yet after using it for two years, she started to experience some unpleasant side effects.

“I started getting spots on my face and my eyes would always tear up and sting when I opened the jar of the cream,” she said.

After going to a GP and showing her the cream, Ms Asumani was told to stop using it immediately. She said this was not easy for her and took a toll on her self-image.

“To become light skin, to become beautiful, it takes time but to stop it doesn’t take time. I went back to my natural skin colour in about two months,” she said.

“I felt bad, I stayed indoors for two months because I became darker than before.”

Now she mixes the steroid skin-lightening product she has purchased from a local shop with another cream to stop her from “going back to my original dark skin”.

She said she would love things to change before her daughter feels she wants to do the same.

“What is the point of continuing hurting because of beauty?,” she said. “I hope my daughter understands that I have gone through the side effects of using these chemicals.”

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