Ghanaian Women Taking Skin Bleaching Pills While Pregnant: Colorism Throughout the Diaspora

Earlier this year, news of some Ghanaian women consuming skin Bleaching pills while pregnant left many readers astounded. Numerous reports were published suggesting that these women are taking tremendous health risks that not only affect themselves, but the life of their unborn child(ren) in an effort to prevent their babies from developing dark skin. How has it come to this, some may ask. The resistance against dark skin has officially reached an all time high!Glutathione is the name of the harmful drug which those who advocate against the pills have stated can lead to birth defects, internal organ and limb damage, and is not approved by Ghana’s FDA. In fact the federal agency has issued an advisory warning women to discontinue the administering of the chemicals. There is no scientific research that has proven that these pills are effective in preventing the development of darker skin tones in unborn babies. Furthermore some experts suggest that having Glutathione injected directly into the bloodstream through either a shot or IV is more practical.

In a report by the New York Times, A New Skin Lightening Procedure is Short of Evidence, the article mentions that Glutathione is an antioxidant found in our cells that neutralizes, boosts immunity, and detoxifies the body. Skin lightening is said to occur by deactivating the enzyme tyrosinase which assist in producing the skin’s pigment. Request for the IV treatment is becoming progressive according to U.S. aestheticians and dermatologists.

This allegedly began in Asia and is slowly becoming a global trend. The U.S. FDA has also issued advisory warnings against such products sold in stores and online , however little enforcement has been implemented in regards to medical professionals; there are concerns due to unregulated dosages and little research on the long term effects of Glutathione treatments.

Ultimately we are faced with not only health concerns, but the crisis of disdain hate for dark skin that mothers would rather risk the health of their unborn child in an effort to give them a fair opportunity in a colorist world; where the darker you are the more adversity will be faced. I’d like to think that these expecting mothers take these risks more so because of sheer love for their child in wanting to protect them from the cruelties of the world rather than pure negligence and lack of concern for barring a healthy baby.

In their eyes they may feel like they are looking out for their child’s best interest. Before we judge, we must see that the actions taken by the mothers are ramifications of a society primarily within the diaspora that will shame you for a darker pigment. This is a communal problem and until we confront and resolve colorism in society I predict that the strides for skin lightening will continue to be more extreme.

A’ cylo ( ˈā/ˈsil/ lō) – “I am a writer with a passion for using my voice to speak on the issues many refuse. My hobbies include writing, dancing, and gardening. A fan of all shades of blue; with a slight addiction to popcorn, chips and salsa. I teach but more importantly I learn; continuously. Did I mention I’m a writer; and I’m serious about my content?!”


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