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Health Information Literacy on the Risks of Using Skin Bleaching Products

Date of this Version

Summer 6-18-2019


Information enables individuals to develop knowledge which can influence their health behavior and attitude while inadequate literacy about health information is associated with poor understanding of medical advice and negative health outcomes among the population. Skin bleaching is a health practice involving the (mis)use of chemical solutions to change one’s complexion to a lighter tone. This paper investigated the viability of using the concept of health information literacy to reduce skin bleaching by reviewing previous empirical studies on skin bleaching with emphasis on health information. Finding showed that skin bleaching is driven by a self-destructive, unattainable beauty standard. It also revealed that health literacy can educate individuals about the risks and adverse effects of skin bleaching on one’s health and physical appearance, thereby reducing the likelihood of skin bleaching and its negative consequences. The study therefore recommends that the media and other information gatekeepers/professionals should use health information to promote healthy skin care practices and the “black is beautiful” message.

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