Natural beauty, colourful future: a call for a healthy skin for all


The desire for many dark-skinned women – and increasingly men – to whiten their complexion is rife, feeding a growing skin whitening industry estimated at USD 9.88 billion in 2021. This phenomenon speaks volumes of the long-lasting and pervasive impact of the discriminatory values of colonial times, which dictate a predominantly ‘white’ standard on beauty, well into our modern days.  

The International Day of Actions for Women’s Health celebrated on the 28th of May commemorates women’s health and rights. A good opportunity to remind ourselves how women are disproportionately exposed and impacted by harmful chemicals, but also how women of colour – in the quest for lighter skin tone – unwittingly expose themselves and their relatives to more toxic and often illegal substances. Read more in this EEB article.

This is also our last reminder to all Parties and Stakeholders to submit information to the Minamata Secretariat on the ongoing challenges in preventing the manufacture, import and export of mercury added cosmetics, using the form, by 30 June 2024. This is an opportunity not to be missed, as it paves the way to addressing implementation and enforcement challenges at a global level, beyond the setting of regulations. 

Photo by Divine Effiong on Unsplash

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