A medical expert, Dr Chinonso Egemba, says users of skin-lightening creams, which contain steroids, are more likely to have severe illness or die from coronavirus disease.
Egemba, who is popularly known as ‘Aproko Doctor’, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, that some bleaching creams and soaps contained steroids, which reduced body immunity.
He described the immune system as the body’s defense force against disease-causing bacteria and viruses such as coronavirus and other organisms that humans touch, ingest and inhale every day.
“If you are bleaching, stop it because it is reducing your immunity and people or patients with low immunity suffer more and may likely die from the virus.
“Steroids are basically anti-inflammatory drugs and inflammation is one way our bodies dispose of foreign substances. It could be via body swelling in the form of boils or redness of the skin.
“So steroids reduce the body’s response to anything that could cause inflammation.
“Now, there are different types of bleaching creams and soaps but some particular types contain steroids and it can bleach the skin or cause skin lightening.
“When you use such cream or soap for a long time, it’s not just on the surface, your skin absorbs the steroids in the cream and it reduces your body immunity,” he said.
Egemba said some unlicensed aestheticians or skin specialists also give their clients steroids, as tablets under the guise that it would help lighten their skin.
“When you take such tablets you are reducing or weakening your immune system.
“So in relation to COVID-19, having strong immunity is one of the major ways patients are surviving the disease and if you have low or weak immunity as a result of bleaching, you suffer more and may likely die from coronavirus disease,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to imbibe healthy lifestyles so as to help boost their immune system.
“Stop smoking, drink little or no alcohol, sleep well, eat a balanced diet, take fruits and vegetables, take regular moderate exercise and reduce stress.
“These acts help our immune systems to be in the best shape possible to tackle pathogens and even coronavirus,” Egemba said.