The protesters from across Durban said it was time to stand up against the use of dangerous skin bleaching creams.
The march was organised by, among others, the University of KZN and the provincial health department. Participants met at King Dinuzulu before making their way to Gugu Dlamini Park.
Nombulelo Pakkies (49) from Lamontville said she used a face lightener for over 18 years not knowing how harmful it was to her health. She said her skin eventually started becoming itchy in the sun.
“I didn’t know there was a problem until a doctor told me how the cream was affecting my skin,” she said.
Professor Ncoza Dlova, a skin doctor and researcher at the university, said the march was aimed at encouraging people to love and embrace their natural skin.
“Black is beautiful. We are saying being a fake yellow bone is dangerous and not cool,” she said.
KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said many African and Indian people had damaged their skins with lighteners.
“Incorrect beliefs were promoted to the point where being dark was loaded with negative stereotypes,” he said.
He said some of the harmful effects of skin lightening products included skin cancer and an increase in skin infections.