Saving Face: Fourteen skincare products pulled from shelves by Health Ministry

Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Department (NPRA), a branch of the Health Ministry, announced today that 14 products listed as skincare items were being pulled from shelves after they were found to contain harmful toxins.

According to New Straits Times, the following brands are now on the banned list:

* Diamond Gold Skin Care – Diamond Gold Day Cream

* Diamond Gold Skin Care – Diamond Gold Night Cream

* Diamond Gold Skin Care – Diamond Gold Treatment Cream

* Alora Night Glowing Cream

* Karisma Nightcream Kunyit

* Karisma Daycream

* Karisma Treatment Sarang Burung

* Seputih Melati Night Cream Whitening

* Seputih Melati Night Cream Glowing

* Majaja Serum Channtiq

* SYMA MAGICAL SERUM

* SYMA Facial Cleanser

* Khumaera Moistskin Cleanser

* Bao Shu Tang Snow Lotus Cream

After examining the contents of each of these items, officials concluded that they contained regulated substances including hydroquinone, tretinoin, and diphenhyramine. These compounds are registered under the Drug Control authorities, and not meant for over-the-counter sale.

An “user testimonial” for Diamond Gold

Explaining their effect, NPRA officials highlighted that hydroquinone, an active ingredient in many formulas sold as “skin brighteners” and pigmentation treatments, could lead to skin discomfort, discoloration, and hyper-sensitivity. Use of such products reduces the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays, and unchecked — this can lead to skin cancer.

One of the banned products

Tretinoin, sometimes called “Retin-A,” is often used to treat blemishes and to reduce wrinkles; however, using the product without supervision or medical guidelines can make the skin red, cause it to peel, and make it hyper-sensitive to sunlight.

While products that contain diphenhydramine can sometimes relieve itchiness from bug bites, burns and irritations, long-term use can result in allergic reactions, as well as photo-sensitivity.

Not to sound like a broken record here, but really — use sunscreen, guys. Even if you think you don’t need it.

Mercury was also found in some of the products that purported to whiten skin, and health officials stressed that it was highly toxic — leading to kidney damage, ill-effect on the central nervous system, and could effect the development of a child’s brain. Or yours. Yes — excessive mercury can make you stupid.

Health Ministry officials asked that the makers of skincare products cease using these toxic formulas immediately, or risk prosecution. However, it’s an uphill battle, considering the road from manufacturing to shelf to sale of beauty products is largely unregulated, with items only being pulled retroactively, after they have been on sale for however long it takes authorities to get around to testing them.

If you’d like to know more, consumers can contact the NPRA at 03-7883 5400 or email to kosmetik@npra.gov.my or visit NPRA website at http://npra.moh.gov.my.

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