The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians that using bleaching products could result in skin cancer and other health issues.
The agency’s media consultant, Olusayo Akintola, in a statement, disclosed that the director-general of the agency, Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning over the weekend at the brainstorming session of a two-day top management meeting of the agency in Lagos.
Ms Adeyeye said an abusive use of cosmetics could even lead to internal damage to body organs and cause death.
She expressed shock at the proliferation of beauticians engaged in formulating unauthorised chemicals with the intention of applying them on their unsuspecting clients.
According to the NAFDAC boss, most 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 clients’ use.
Ms Adeyeye said the formulation was packaged, labelled, and sold online to clients, adding that SPA owners have gone further to influence some clinics with medical doctors joining to carry out these nefarious activities.
She said the practice had advanced to the extent that vitamin C infusion and glutathione were injected into the substances and applied on clients.
The NAFDAC boss explained further that the challenge in enforcing the agency’s safety regulations on bleaching agents, SPAs and other beauty parlours was that the products were prepared extemporaneously and covertly for individual clients.
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 substances above their permissible limits are at risk of causing harm, and 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 and damage the liver and kidney.
“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
,” she said.
Ms Adeyeye decried that bleaching has become pandemic among women, noting that the agency would clamp down on sellers of unauthorised 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 cosmetics, but they must be regulated and confirmed safe for human use.