The free reign of fairness cream makers looks set to end soon. The Union government led by Prime Minister has prepared draft norms to curb the sale of fairness creams over the counter across the country. In an exclusive report, DNA today said the government is alarmed over the side effects of the skin-lightening creams. These are packed with steroids and other strong chemicals, which are harmful in the long run. The draft norms propose to make a doctor’s prescription mandatory for buying these skin products.
If implemented, the new rules would prevent cosmetic, grocery, medicine, local kirana stores and even shopping malls from selling the fairness creams to people without a proper prescription from doctors.Read more ↓
The report said the draft has been prepared following representations by consumer and medical bodies, including the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists, and Leprologists (IADVL). These organisations say that skin-lightening creams can cause redness and swelling of skin, leave a burning or stinging sensation. Other adverse effects include itchy and flaky skin, skin turning dark or too light, thinning of the skin, visible blood vessels in the skin and scarring.
In a notification issued to amend the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945, the Union Health Ministry has sought suggestions and objections from citizens and other stakeholders before the finalisation of the draft.
The draft rules say that steroids with or without hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, and tretinoin must be sold against a prescription.
DNA quoted senior IADVL member and leading dermatologist Dr Shyam Verma as saying that some of the creams meant to clear dark spots are often sold with names suggesting that they can turn the user’s skin fair. “They are bought over the counter and used without supervision which is not only illogical but outrightly dangerous. This is due to the steroid content and two other molecules which have an irritant profile, especially in sunlight. This can lead to short and long-term side effects as mentioned above,” Verma said.
The specialist, however, further said the onus lies on the Drug Controller General of India for effective implementation of rules.