A top Jamaican beauty pageant has banned the use of skin bleach among its contestants.
Organisers of the Miss Black History Month Talent and Pageant Show have drawn a line under the use of the – in some cases – dangerous products, which are popular on the island.
Instead, Alexander Brown, leader of the organisers, wants to promote self-esteem among its entrants.
“I feel very bad when I see a black girl bleach and get so brown, that spoils her skin tone,” he told The Jamaica Star .
“I don’t see the sense [in bleaching].
“It’s a big, big problem.”
At the show, which will be live streamed on 26 February, contestants will be asked general knowledge questions, and will wear African dress.
Beauty’s war on skin whitening
Skin whitening products are a fierce topic in beauty.
A number of African governments have banned the use of the products, where their use has been rife.
Big beauty players have also ditched a selection of their skin whitening skus.
Johnson & Johnson has ended production of its Neutrogena Fine Fairness products.
The effects of skin-lightening products
If used incorrectly, hydroquinone, a common chemical used in skin-lightening products, can have harmful effects, such as ochronosis – a discoloration on the skin.
Other skus have been found to contain mercury, a known toxin.
In the UK, skin-lightening creams can be prescribed by a doctor to treat certain skin appearances, such as blemishes, birth patches and dark patches.
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Skin whitening can also be achieved by laser treatment.
In spite of the harmful effects, the skin-whitening business is booming.
By 2027, the whole category is tipped to reach US$24bn in value by 2027, with the lotion cream segments dominating at more than $8.9m.