Nigerian Medical Practitioner

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Prevalence of use of skin lightening agents amongst University of Benin undergraduates in Benin City, Nigeria

AN Ofili, EU Eze, AN Onunu


The use of skin lightening ‘bleaching' agents has adverse effects on the skin. Cosmetic manufacturers in the country in advertising their products have exploited beautification with the use of these “bleaching” agents. The resultant increase in the use of these agents is likely to lead to a concomitant rise in the incidence of their adverse effects. The focus of this study is therefore to determine the prevalence of the use of skin lightening agents. This cross-sectional study was carried out among 385 University of Benin undergraduates. A multi-stage sampling method was used to select the students. Data was collected using pre-designed questionnaire. The study showed that 64.9% of the respondents used skin lightening agents in their soaps, body cream or facial cream. Hydroquinone based products was the most commonly used product. More females (70.7%) bleached than the males (52.2%). This difference was found to be statistically significant. Recommendations have been made including adding lectures on health implication of the usage of skin lightening agents to the curriculum of all students in Nigeria. This study has shown a high prevalence of the use of skin lightening agents among undergraduates in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.

Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 49(1&2) 2006: 24-27
AJOL African Journals Online