The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has warned Nigerians against too much use of bleaching cosmetics, saying it could lead to skin cancer.
The warning is contained in a statement signed by the agency’s media consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola, and made available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
The statement disclosed that the Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the admonition over the weekend at the brainstorming session of a two-day top management meeting of the agency in Lagos.
Adeyeye said that an abusive use of cosmetics could even lead to internal damage of body organs as well as cause death.
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She expressed shock at the proliferation of beauticians engaged in formulation of unauthorized chemicals with the intention of applying them on their unsuspecting clients.
According to the NAFDAC boss, majority of SPA outlets in the nation’s cosmopolitan cities are culpable of the unhealthy practice of mixing chemicals and natural products like pawpaw, carrot and others to make creams, for the clients’ use.
Adeyeye said that the formulation was thereafter packaged, labeled, and sold online to clients, adding that SPA owners had gone further to influence some clinics with medical doctors joining to carry out these nefarious activities.
She said that the practice had advanced to the extent that vitamin C infusion and glutathione was injected into the substances and applied on clients.
She explained further that the challenges in the enforcement of the agency’s safety regulations on bleaching agents, SPAs and other beauty parlors was that the products were prepared extemporaneously and covertly for individual clients.
According to her, rarely can you see the offending products on the shelves of these facilities.
She warned that the practice must stop as anyone apprehended by the agency would be prosecuted and jailed if convicted.
She disclosed that most of the products used in the mixture were smuggled into the country and unregistered, citing formulations containing Kojic Acid, and Hydroquinone above their permissible substance limits.
According to her, all these products which have substance above their permissible limits are at risk of causing harm, and that it is for the same safety reason that the use of mercury is banned in cosmetics.
“We don’t just ban products because they are bleaching agents but are prohibited because of safety issues surrounding particular ingredients in the products as they could cause skin cancer as well as damage the liver and kidney.
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“The lightening of skin today can be cancer tomorrow, many of the importers smuggle the products into the country under the guise of Global listing to bypass NAFDAC inspection.
“Bleaching has become a pandemic amongst both women and their male counterparts; the agency is on the heels of some people who engaged in online sales of dangerous unauthorized cosmetics and other products.
“Investigation and enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC has been given the directive to apprehend merchants of these dangerous products and bring them to book, ” she stressed.
She therefore emphasised that the agency was not against the use of cosmetics, but they must be regulated and confirmed safe for human use.
She said that the agency would uphold its mandate of citizens protection, by ensuring that the quality and safety of goods produced internally and imported into the country went through processes that met global best practices.