View this incredible short documentary on skin bleaching in Jamaica.
- A boy started bleaching his skin since he was 13 to attract girls.
- In Kingston, Jamaica, there are “vampires” – people who have bleached so much that their skin has become sensitive to sunlight. So they can only go out at night.
- One girl says bleach creams are so popular in this impoverished nation that it even outsells food.
“Nothing sells in this town like rubbings, hair and clothes. Even food doesn’t sell as much as bleaching. Everyday you talk about being hungry, but if I have JMD1.50, I will go and run to buy one of them.”
- When she bleaches her skin, she says that being hot and sweating helps.
“Yes, I go out in the sun and walk up and down. The sun doesn’t bother me. If you walk in the sun and sweat, it’s better. When we bleach, we come out wearing our socks, tights, and trousers. Sometimes even 4 shirts. So we’re well covered up. Then we take some plastic and wrap it around our skin, all the way up to the belly. When we walk, we sweat. After about 5 minutes, we take it off and get into a warm bath. Lean back into it and see the dead skin rinse off. So later at the dance and on video, nobody can say anything – we are white. “
- So what was in the bleaching creams they used? In the video, the doctor interviewed mentioned steroids (or corticosteroids) as a popular ingredient. Corticosteroids have many serious side effects and should not be used to lighten skin. Aside from possibly disfiguring the skin (with prolonged and excessive use), it also enters the bloodstream – which can cause serious health problems down the road, including Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.