The use of skin lightening creams seem to be in vogue among some Nigerians but a Professor of Immunology, has stated that the use of these creams pose a lot of health dangers.
Prof. Ganiyu Olatunbosun Arinola of the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Ibadan, in his inaugural lecture recently, said that the use of skin lightening creams cause disruption in the normal protective functions of the skin.
The lecture was entitled “The Diplomacy of Protective Armoury in Humans: How Effective?”.
Accordimg to Prof. Arinola, who heads the university’s Department of Chemical Pathology, the outermost skin layer provides the first line of defense against disease causing organisms. He said that what skin loghtening creams or skin depigmentation creams do, is remove this skin layer.
He said: “Depigmentation of skin is practised by black people of all ages, and in both sexes with higher prevalence in young , unmarried and married, for fame, cosmetic purposes and also due to misconceptions about the presumed superiority and desirability of fair skin.
But the big disadvantage of the habit of skin lightening is that skin depigmentation creams cause disruption in the normal natural immunologic finctions of the skin”
The scientist called for a public awareness programme to enlighten the populace about the danger involved in the practice of skin lightening.
Prof. Arinola also advocated the inclusion of basic immunology in elementary science curriculum for children in schools.
Worried that many people were not aware that every part of their bodies has protective functions the professor said that early and continuos education about the protective functions of parts of the body would aid better way of life and enhance healthy living.
Explaining that immunology is central to all life sciences with many appendages, Arinola noted that all parts of human protective artilleries guiding us against enemies from outside and inside must be well protected saying: “failure of these artilleries lead to diseases of either the poor or the rich, infant or old, male or female, illiterate or uneducated, fertile or infertile, mouth or intestine, skin or muscle, bone or blood”
Encouraging peple to exercise more, eat healthy, and take personal hygiene serious, the scholar advised against excessive alcohol intake, smoking and exposure to pesticides.