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J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017 Apr;4(2):149-155. doi: 10.1007/s40615-016-0212-5. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

Use of Skin-Whitening Products by Sudanese Undergraduate Females: a Survey.

Author information

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, P.O. Box 22490, Riyadh, 11426, Internal Mail Code 2350, Saudi Arabia.
Applied Statistics and Demography, Faculty of Economics and Rural Development, University of Gezira, Wad Madani, Sudan.



Although skin-whitening products are commonly used among dark-skinned women of African descent, research on the frequency with which Sudanese women use skin-whitening products is lacking.


A cross-sectional study was conducted at the University of Gezira, Sudan, on the use of skin-whitening products among a sample of Sudanese undergraduate females (ages 16-33 years). Sociodemographic characteristics were collected, and students were asked whether they had used skin-whitening products in the past 12 months.


Of the 348 undergraduate females surveyed in this study, 74.4 % reported using skin-whitening products within the past year. Of this group, 2.7 % reported using injections, 2.4 % pills, 30.6 % bleaching cream, and 76.2 % soap. Illegal sources (e.g., people selling on the sides of roads) of skin-whitening products were reported by 22.8 %. The use of skin-whitening products was common in females who were not satisfied with their skin colors more so than those who were satisfied with their skin colors (83.7 vs. 70.5 %, P = 0.010). Undergraduate females who had mothers, sisters, or other relatives who bleached reported a greater frequency of using skin-whitening products than those who had no family member who bleached (100, 87.7, or 77 % vs. 67.5 %, P = 0.003, respectively). The odds of using skin-whitening products in females who had mothers or sisters bleaching were 7.8 times higher (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 7.8; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 2.572, 23.828) and two times higher in females who had other relatives bleaching (aOR 2.4; 95 % CI 1.159, 5.115), compared with females who had no family members who bleached.


It was estimated that a majority (7 out of 10) of Sudanese undergraduate females have tried skin-whitening products. However, because the university population is an elite group, a population-based survey is warranted to address the use of skin-whitening products among the general population of Sudanese women.


Dark-skinned; Hydroquinone; Skin-bleaching; Skin-whitening; Sudan; Undergrads

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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