The long road back to healthy skin
All Ntuli wanted was to enhance her beauty.
The 41-year-old mother of two from KwaMashu in Durban noticed that the faces of some of her friends were looking brighter and more beautiful. She asked them what they were using and they told her about the skin lighteners sold in most cosmetic shops in the Durban city centre.
It wasn’t long after receiving this beauty tip that Ntuli, a community healthcare worker, began using a skin lightener called Dovate. A year later, she moved on to Hypoderm, as well as several other skin-lightening products.
“The products worked well, or at least I thought they did. My facial skin became brighter and more radiant every day,” she told City Press.
“I have never had skin problems, so for me it was just to enhance my beauty and that’s all. For months, I got what I wanted and I was happy – until I crossed paths with Dr Dlova.”
Ntuli had taken her daughter to Dlova in Durban to seek treatment for the child’s severe acne.
“We went in with my daughter for an examination, but Dr Dlova also diagnosed me. She asked me what I was using on my face and I told her the names of different creams. She asked if I was using any skin lighteners and I said yes.
“She told me that these products, though they may make me look good at first, will damage my skin and I should stop using them.”
At the time, Ntuli was in the early stages of ochronosis, a severe form of hyperpigmentation that develops on the skin of the face.
Fortunately, she heeded the doctor’s advice and started treatment. She continues to use sunscreen to prevent further damage. She was lucky.