Medical Journal of Zambia

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Use of skin lightening creams among female University students in Zimbabwe: a preliminary survey

James January, Rutendo Roselyn Muchenje, Laston Gonah, Shepherd Shamu, Roy Tapera


Objective: To explore the prevalence and beliefs around use of skin lighteners among female university students at the University of Zimbabwe.
Methods and Materials: We conducted a descriptive cross sectional survey to ascertain the prevalence and correlates of use of skin lightening creams among a sample of 138 female university students (mean age 22years, SD=1.73) who responded to self-administered questionnaires.
Results: Prevalence of use of skin lightening creams among the respondents was 20%. Most of the women (83.3%) preferred lighter skin tone, and 93.3% perceived light skin as a symbol of beauty, 65% as a sign of wealth and 23.3% as symbolizing power.
Conclusions: Results from this survey provide a preliminary evidential entry point for health promotion interventions in a potentially influential subgroup of society.

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