Ivory Coast bans skin whitening creams

Ivory Coast has banned skin whitening creams, which are widely used in west Africa, because of fears they cause lasting damage to health, the health ministry said Wednesday. “Cosmetic lightening and hygiene creams … that de-pigment the skin … are now forbidden,” the ministry said in a statement. The ban affects whitening creams and lotions…

Not so pretty: The high health cost of women’s products

Between cosmetics, perfumes, personal care products and feminine hygiene products, women in the US apply an average of 168 chemicals to their faces and bodies every day, according to new research by the non-profit Environmental Working Group. Some of these chemicals are completely harmless, but others are endocrine disruptors, carcinogens and neurotoxins, most of which…

A fist and a hard place

Phumla Ndlovu’s* partner Xolile Silo* started drinking at nine that Monday morning. He then left their house in Roodepan township, near Kimberley in the Northern Cape, and headed for the local tavern. It was just weeks ago: March 23. “I was lying on the couch watching TV when he came back later that evening,” Ndlovu…

Mindfulness as effective as pills for treating recurrent depression – study

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be as good as pills at stopping people relapsing after recovering from major bouts of depression, according to a study. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed from mindfulness techniques, which encourage individuals to pay more attention to the present moment, combined with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), specifically to try to help…

‘Forced’ sterilisation of HIV women violates rights

Three women’s rights advocacy groups have lodged a formal complaint with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) protesting the “ongoing forced/coerced sterilisation of women living with HIV in South Africa”. Speaking at a media event on Wednesday, representatives from two of the three groups, Her Rights Initiative (HRI) and the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), argued…