Ghana Bans the Sale of Skin Bleaching Products


Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) have announced complete prohibition  of cosmetics containing skin bleaching ingredient hydroquinone. According to reports, the ban will come into effect this August. This embargo aims to deter people from using products containing this substance, which is believed to have the potential to cause cancer.

It is estimated that 30 % of women in Ghana use skin bleaching products, such as Fair & Lovely. However, rates are even higher in other African nations. In Nigeria, for example, up to 77 percent of women have admitted to using bleaching skin products. In Senegal the figure is between 52 and 67 percent. We all know about Lil Kim, who changed her complexion hoping to be more relevant as a Kenyan socialite. Vera Sidika did the same a while back terming her bleaching as “skin lightening”.


The use of skin lightening products is closely tied to notions of colorism, whereby women of lighter complexions are given better treatment and more opportunities than those with darker skin. Colorism stems from European colonialism and the globalization of Western beauty ideals.

Skin bleaching products come with serious side effects, such as skin irritation and inflammation, burning sensations, itchy and flaky skin, and increased risks of cancer.

Ghana isn’t the first country to ban the skin bleaching sales – cosmetics containing hydroquinone are already banned in the United States, Japan, Australia and the European Union.


Personally, I would take up Alicia Keys #nomakeup movement and encourage young girls to stop damaging their skin, body and health.