News about the skin lightening cream struggle


In the last Learn and Teach magazine we asked magazines and newspapers to stop advertising skin lightening creams. Drum magazine was the first to agree. They will stop advertising skin lightening creams. Learn and Teach thanks Drum. We hope other magazines and newspapers will do the same.


Ban all skin lightening creams with hydroquinone – this message comes again from a top skin doctor in South Africa.

The skin doctor is Professor Findlay. He has warned people about skin lightening creams for many years. He gives his new warning in the latest American skin doctors’ magazine.

Professor Findlay says the law the Health Department made in 1980 is no good. (I n 1980 the Health Department said skin lightening creams must not have more than 2% hydroquinone). Professor Findlay says the law is no good because people will just use more skin lightening creams.

Another skin doctor told Learn and Teach, “I don’t know why the Health Depart­ment doesn’t listen to Professor Findlay. He is the best skin doctor in South Africa.”


“Skin lightening creams are dangerous. They damage peoples’ skins,” a scientist told Learn and Teach. The scientist works at a university in Pretoria.

The scientist did tests with skin lightening creams last year. She tested creams that have hydroquinone. Most skin lightening creams are made with hydroquinone.

The scientist rubbed skin lightening creams onto guinea pigs. She rubbed the creams onto the guinea pigs every 24 hours. She did not give the guinea pigs a lot of cream – she gave the same amount people use.

After two weeks the guinea pigs’s skins went hard. They got bleeding scabs. After six weeks their feet and noses turned black.



The Learn and Teach challenge


This person has hydroquinone poisoning. This person got hydroquinone poisoning from skin lightening cream. Most skin lightening creams are made with hydroquinone.

Most skin doctors want the Health Department to ban skin lightening creams. (10 out of 11 skin doctors told Learn and Teach they want skin lightening creams banned).

But last month the Health Department said they won’t ban skin lightening creams.

Skin lightening cream is big business. Black people spend over 30 million rands a year on skin lightening creams. Adverts in newspapers and magazines help sell these poisonous creams.

Show your readers that you are on their side. Please stop advertising skin lightening creams.

Skin lightening creams: a big new problem

image289Elizabeth Mohoane had some spots on her face. She wanted to get rid of these spots. Her friend told her to buy some Dolly Lou cream. She bought the cream and used it.

Four days later, her face got swollen and ‘burnt’. She got blisters allover her face and neck. She felt very itchy. Her face began to water. And then she got big white patches on her face, neck and hands. Big white patches that won’t go away.

She went to the hospital. The doctors are doing their best to help her. But nothing is happening. She is not getting better.

“I feel very angry”, Elizabeth told Learn and Teach. “Next month I wanted to visit my mother on the farm. But I can’t go looking like this. I feel so ashamed.”

A skin doctor at the Hillbrow hospital has seen 20 people like Elizabeth Mohoane in the past four months. She is treating all these people. Only two people are getting better.

All the people used one of these creams – “Dolly Lou”, “Charm All” and “Susa Amabala”. These creams damage some people’s skins after a few days. Some people suffer months later.

image291“All skin lightening creams damage your skin”, says the skin doctor. “But these three creams are doing terrible damage. They have put new chemicals in these creams. We aren’t sure what the chemicals are. We are trying to find out.”

The skin doctor is very worried about these three creams. “I have seen 20 people already. But my clinic is a very small clinic. I wonder how many other people have damaged their skins from these creams”.

The skin doctor is certain that Dolly Lou, Charm All and Susa Amabala damage people’s skins. She has done tests. She rubbed the creams onto people’s arms. And she saw what happened.

The doctor wants the health department to do something. “People make these cheap creams with all types of things. The Health Department must make laws to protect people.”

The skin doctor wants to tell Learn and Teach readers one more thing: “All skin lightening creams are dangerous. Black people must not use skin lightening creams. They have black skins for a good reason. Their black skins protect them from the sun. Very few black people get skin cancer. But thousands of white people in South Africa get skin cancer.”