Fact check: Do 1 in 3 South African women use skin-lightening cream?

Fact check: Do 1 in 3 South African women use skin-lightening cream?

- A documentary claims that 1 in 3 South African women use skin bleaching cream

- However, this conclusion was based on a sample of under 600 people

- As a result, the study cannot be used to draw accurate conclusions about South Africa as a whole

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A 2018 documentary claims that one in three South African women buy skin bleaching cream.

This figure was derived from a study of just under 600 women at two hospitals in Durban.

But how does the stat compare to reality?

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While the documentary referred to South African skin bleaching cream use as a "scandal", the documentary's sample size of just 579 is too small to really serve as an accurate indicator of the use of skin bleaching cream. Additionally, it is not representative of the country as a whole.

A wider survey of southern Africa as a whole established that 27.1% of women in the region use such creams, but this study has certain limitations and so it not wholly reliable.

For example, the data might be biased due to self-selection of the participants.

Additionally, studies done on patients (as the Durban studies were) are known for producing higher prevalence rates than they do for the general public.

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Indeed, AfricaCheck says there is in fact not enough data to draw conclusive claims about the prevalence of the use of skin bleaching creams in South Africa. Too few studies of skin bleaching cream use in the country have been done to produce reliable statistics.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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