Health authorities have warned residents not to use three brands of unregistered skin whitening creams that were found to have been circulating in the UAE. The Department of Health, the regulatory authority of the health care sector in Abu Dhabi, announced that the skin whitening creams were banned in the UAE for containing the harmful ingredient Hydroquinone.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention warned people against using skin-whitening creams without consulting a physician, particularly products marketed on line and explained that, “while hydroquinone is an active ingredient in therapeutic creams, very long-term use of these type of creams could cause permanent skin damage, including facial bleaching and lead to skin cancer.”
Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing, said there is a growing demand among teenage girls to use skin-whitening products.
Such big demand has made some social media influencers promote creams that should only be administered by medical prescription. Most of these products are not registered and could be harmful for the skin. Any suspicious advertisement should be reported directly to the Ministry by calling 80011111 any other government health authority in the UAE.
Dr Al Amiri urged the public to ignore misleading advertisements that promote some skin-whitening creams without medical consultation. He said many ads on social media are misleading and promote products that are not medically proven to be safe or effective.
Creams containing corticosteroids, should be dispensed by a medical prescription and used under the supervision of a specialist. Corticosteroids have side effects that usually occur after prolonged use, high dose or lack of medical supervision, such as skin numbness, atrophy, itching and stinging.
Differin Gel can cause some adverse effects, including dryness and allergy, and it must be applied at night time only because it reacts with sunlight. It should be used under medical supervision and it could cause skin irritation on initial use.
Unregistered products promoted on line contain four per cent hydroquinone. These creams may whiten the skin, however, when exposed to the sun, adverse effects will soon occur leading to the tanning of the skin and the occurrence of dark spots. Very long-term use of these type of creams could lead to skin cancer.