Skip to content

Gambia Restricts Dangerous Use of Beauty Products

Gambian lawmakers voted to uphold a ban on skin-lightening products after a debate in parliament. Skin-lightening or bleaching agents, especially unauthorised ones, may cause multiple health risks such as scarring, blistering, nerve and bone damage. It is also controversial as many argue phenomenon is a toxic legacy of colonialism. Adama Barrow’s government sought to lift the skin-bleaching ban last year, arguing that it discriminated against women. Justice Minister Dawda Jallow also argued that criminalising people for using cosmetic products was an unfair punishment. But on Monday, several lawmakers argued in favour of maintaining the ban, citing health or religious reasons. The practice is widely used across Africa as well as South Asia and the Middle East.