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Why Do Our Women Want To Lighten Their Skin?

By Deng Kiir Akok

Is it a matter of playing around with one’s own money? Let me admit. That hard to find money is used to buy chemicals in search of white beauty. What you can see in her is dark elbow, dark finger joints, dark knee caps and dark toe joints that resisted the process for a designated skin colour or white complexion. She would not be black, white or brown but yellow-brown or she is there or in mother tongue agai-koc meaning surprising people is a suitable word for her new attained colour.

Skin bleaching phenomenon is not new to South Sudanese women to practice it but has its deep root in time of civil wars.

Skin lightening, or skin bleaching, is a cosmetic procedure that aims to lighten dark areas of skin or achieve a generally paler skin tone (NHS Choices).

Skin bleaching becomes an all out practice for South Sudanese women before after South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan on 9th July 2011. This could be probably prompted by their unfitted to the Arab community in Khartoum when they fled 22 years of conflict and took refuge in the northern towns of Sudan.

Although studies that were conducted on skin bleaching some years back discovered men to be in engaged in skin lightening phenomenon to change their complexion.
However, these practices have not yet arrived in South Sudan.

I would like you to take you through a conversation I went with one skin lightening veteran and at time a tea maker who wished not to be disclosed one evening. “ I am not longer using cream because I could not afford it, she said. I am totally broke to buy these chemical peels, she told me. Since 2015 up to date I abandoned creams because of the everyday market increase in price that is rooted from South Sudanese Pound devaluation against the dollar last year ”.

The government of South Sudan announced on Tuesday, 15 the floating of the country’s currency. After the announcement, the value of South Sudanese Pound (SSP), which had been pegged to the U.S. dollar at an official rate of 2.96 SSP to the dollar, fell to levels approaching the parallel market rates of 18.50 SSP to the dollar.

Why do you look darker than me but you are just from skin lightening, I asked her. “ When you stopped applying cream on your skin, you first seem darker and darker than you were before ", she narrated it to me.

This is because of sunlight and a reviving of melanin functions, a colouring pigment that determines skin, hair and eye colour.

 “ So my skin tone will return to its normal after sometimes but not now ", she continued.

In our conversation, she asked me about my marital status and I had accepted the status of being married. “ Is your wife with us in the pursuit of a lighter or white skin or on the other side ? ”, she asked me.

Because I did not bother myself to beat around the bush, I jumped to the last answer and I told her, she will lose this tall gentleman, with better hair you can see in front of you as her husband. She will not even spend a second in my house. She will at once leave my house if she tampered with cream and as I speak to you now, I keep on checking on her to see whether she has used any.

She has no reason to apply cream on her body to make herself more attractive to me than she does to me now.

I picked her when she was black-skinned and I would continue to love her in that colour.

There is nothing wrong with black skin colour in my sense as an African. Africans are known for their dark skin. I do not care about white skin because I was created with black skin then no matter let stay black, I told her.

Though there are possible risks encountered with cosmetics, South Sudanese women continue to use them despite an alarming warning by health experts since these creams contain dangerous materials as put by National Health Service Choices (NHS Choices), the United Kingdom (UK) online health information service.

The two ingredients dominating creams include hydroquinone, corticosteroids and mercury which in a long use may lead to skin turning dark or too light, thinning of the skin, visible blood vessels in the skin, scarring, kidney, liver or nerve damage, abnormalities in a newborn baby (if used during pregnancy).

Nowhere on earth you can find women with white skin and men and children are with black skin. This is totally wrong even God cannot accept that because he created our genetic makeup the same. So no reason for South Sudanese women mostly township women to lighten their skin while their men and children are black skin.

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