Percieved risks and determinants of use of skin bleaching agents among market women in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria
This study assessed the commonly used skin bleaching agents, the perceived health risks associated with the use of skin lightening agents, determined the proportion of respondents that engaged in skin lightening practices and also, identified the determinants of use of skin lightening agents among market women in Ile Ife, Osun State. The study was descriptive cross-sectional in design. Three hundred market women were selected by multistage sampling method from 5 major markets. A semi-structured questionnaire comprising information on socio-demographic characteristics, awareness and use of skin bleaching agents, reasons for engaging in the skin bleaching practices, perceived health risks associated with the use of skin bleaching agents, and attitude on skin bleaching practices was administered to the market women. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed that the commonly used skin bleaching agents by the women were hydroquinone based agents. Seventy one percent (71.7%) of the women practice skin bleaching. The perceived health risk associated with the use of skin bleaching agents were multiple stretch marks, easy bruising of skin, skin rashes, yellowish brown discoloration of the skin, worsening of existing skin conditions, thinning of the skin, excessive hair on the body, swelling of face and limbs, body odour, weight gain and passage of blood in the urine. The most commonly experience side effect from the use of skin bleaching agent by respondents was worsening of existing skin conditionwhile 75.6% of them ignored the side effects and continued usage. The odds of determinants of the use of skin bleaching agents were having primary education (OR=5.68, 95%CI=2.32-13.88, p=0.000), being a Christian (OR=5.07, 95%CI=2.94-8.77, p=0.000) and positive attitude to skin bleaching (OR=1.07, 95%CI=6.02-19.23, p=0.000). The study concluded that, there is high prevalence of the use of skin bleaching agents and the side effects experienced are being ignored by a high percentage of the market women in Ile-Ife. There is need for the women to be educated on the health risks associated with skin bleaching practices.