Ivory Coast bans skin whitening creams

Two men walk under a giant advertisement for skin-lightening products in Abidjan on May 2, 2015Ivory Coast has banned skin whitening creams, which are widely used in west Africa, because of fears they cause lasting damage to health, the health ministry said Wednesday. "The number of people with side effects caused by these medicines is really high," said Christian Doudouko, a member of Ivory Coast's pharmaceutical authority, warning that they could cause skin cancer. Lightening products can also lead to hypertension and diabetes, said Elidje Ekra, a dermatologist at the Treichville university hospital in Abidjan.


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