KIGALI, RWANDA – The Rwandan government has banned cosmetics used for lightening or “bleaching” skin.
Skin lightening is a common practice among dark-skinned people in many parts of the world.
But most products used for this purpose contain powerful and prohibited toxins like hydroquinone and mercury.
“Love the skin you’re in”, that’s the message from Rwanda’s government in the fight against skin lightening.
Rwandan president Paul Kagame raised concerns about the growing use of skin-lightening products on social media.
Police officials in the country have already started confiscating thousands of products since the closing weeks of 2018.
“We are now putting much effort, like educating people, going around and seizing those illegal products, so we are also joining those countries who are also in this fight of the use of those illegal skin-lightening cosmetics”, said Francois Uwinkindi, Cancer Unit Ministry of Health.
But many users are not happy with this move.
They say they have every right to choose the way they wish to look.
Many African countries have banned skin bleaching products, but laws aren’t enforced and skin-whitening creams and soaps flood the markets in countries like Ghana, South Africa, and Mali.