Like many black women, Bonzenga – a young lady who lives in Germany – has been using skin bleaching products for years. She has accepted to share her experience with us and she explains how she stopped bleaching her skin.
Chronique beauté noire: How did you start bleaching your skin ?
Bonzenga: I took this decision somehow unconsciously because people around me used to bleach their skin too and whitening products were available at home. I think I started using these products at the age of 14 or 15.
Chronique beauté noire: What products did you use ?
Bonzenga : I started with Lemon and then I moved on to Skinlight and then Carolight.
Chronique beauté noire: Were you aware of the risks for your health ?
Bonzenga: We know that it is carcinogenic and that it is not healthy, but we just ignore it. When your family bleach their skin and do not mention the risks at all, then you do not really realize how dangerous it is.
Chronique beauté noire: When did you understand that you had to stop ?
Bonzenga: At the end of 2010, beginning of 2011, I realized little by little that it was not healthy. I had a change in my life: I had a child and it made me think. I wondered what kind of example I wanted to give my child and bleaching my skin was not exemplary… I made research about why black people bleach their skin. I read a lot of books and I met lots of people who supported me when I decided to stop.
Chronique beauté noire: Do you have after effects of skin bleaching?
Bonzenga: At the beginning it was horrible. My skin was very dry and damaged. It took me more than one year before my skin came back to its normal state.
Chronique beauté noire: What products did you use to improve your skin?
Bonzenga: I simply stopped skin whitening creams and I started using allowed creams. Now I used Cocoa Butter Cream.
Chronique beauté noire: Is there any measure from the German Health Ministry against skin bleaching?
Bonzenga: I don’t know. I just know that skin whitening creams are available in afro shops n Germany. Creams like Caroglight or Skinlight are sold illegally.