The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has warned Nigerians against the use of BB Glow Soul body cream for skin whitening.
NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, issued the warning in a statement in Abuja, noting that the agency was informed that the cream had been banned by the Malaysian National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency after finding out it was dangerous to health.
According to a report containing collective views of an international group of experts that include the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation, repeated or prolonged contact of hydroquinone with skin may cause dermatitis and skin sensitisation.
The report warned that the substance may have effects on the eye and skin, resulting in discoloration of the conjunctiva and cornea, loss of vision, skin depigmentation, and discoloration of nails and hair.
Adeyeye said the product was found to contain hydroquinone and tretinoin, which could cause redness of the skin, hypersensitivity, and increase the risk of skin cancer.
The NAFDAC DG encouraged healthcare professionals and consumers to report adverse effects of the product to the nearest NAFDAC office.
She further urged Nigerians to report such adverse effects via a dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org or via the NAFDAC ADR e-Reporting platform available at www.nafdac.gov.ng.
“Hydroquinone causes redness of the skin, discomfort, unwanted skin changes, the skin becomes hypersensitive, and can prevent pigmentation (depigmentation). It could also reduce skin protection against harmful ultraviolet rays.
“The use of tretinoin without the supervision of health professionals can cause the skin to be reddish, uncomfortable, painful, peeling and hypersensitive to sunlight.
“NAFDAC implores importers, distributors and retailers to immediately stop the importation, distribution and sale of BB Glow Soul cream cosmetic products.
“Any member of the public in possession of the implicated cosmetic products is implored to submit them to the nearest NAFDAC office,” Adeyeye stated.
World health bodies recommended that over-the-counter sales of creams containing hydroquinone should be restricted.
This is even as they called for health education programmes to be developed to discourage the use of hydroquinone-containing creams for whole-body skin lightening.
Tretinoin, according to online portal Healthline, is a prescription-strength topical cream or gel, used mainly to treat acne, sun-damaged skin, and fine wrinkles.
It warned that the treatment works by irritating the skin, adding, “Tretinoin is able to speed up the life cycle of skin cells. It makes them divide faster and die faster, so newer, healthier cells can take their place.
“Tretinoin is a synthetic version of vitamin A. It’s stronger, and you need a prescription from your doctor for this medication.”
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