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Experts: Fairness creams could increase risk of skin diseases

  • Published at 02:58 pm December 27th, 2017
Experts: Fairness creams could increase risk of skin diseases
Fairness cream – a type of cosmetic product that claims to whiten the complexion of the user after consistent use – is widely available and very popular among the female consumers. To attract these consumers, a significant part of which is teenagers and young women, the companies invest heavily in advertisements. Despite the outlandish claims made by the manufacturers of this type of cream, doctors have warned that using them for a long time could lead to a number of serious skin diseases. Talking to the correspondent, Professor Dr Md Shahidullah Sikder, pro-vice chancellor (research & development) of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said: “The skin whitening creams can cause a lot of side effects, such as rashes, allergies, itches and swellings. They could even cause skin infections.” He added: “Herbal beauty products used in beauty parlours can also harm the skin. Those who mix and produce these herbal creams, rarely know what they are doing, and how to mix the ingredients properly. This could lead to severe side effects.” Discussing the skin cream advertisements, Dr Shahidullah said: “The advertisements are interesting, but the creams could damage the skin of the user, instead of whitening it. The creams could react with the sunlight, and cause spots on the skin. “It is easier to diagnose the cause of skin spots, if someone refrains from using fairness creams. Natural skin tones are the most beautiful, and people should not resort to using skin whitening creams ignoring the risks they pose.” Addressing the issue, Professor Gitiara Nasreen of Dhaka University's mass communication and journalism department, said: “Giving whiter skin a higher status is an opinion imposed by the society. This concept could have originated during the colonial period. “Cosmetics that claim to whiten skin are capitalizing on this preconceived notion. The advertisements are confusing the viewers into thinking that a fair skin is essential to achieve anything in life. But, nothing can be achieved with the colour of skin alone.” She added: “Even the World Health Organization has warned that attempting to change skin complexion by artificial means can not only damage the skin but also harm other organs of the body.” Assistant Professor of the Dermatology Department at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) Dr Masuda Khatun said: “A person should never use the skin whitening creams currently available in local market. We treat at least two to four people every day who have suffered complications after using fairness creams. “The Gauri Cream and Pakistani Cream are causing damage to the skin of female users.” She added: “A skin whitening cream rarely helps a person get fairer complexion, and causes long-term side effects instead.” She pointed out that doctors are offering counselling to patients suffering from skin complications. “Using locally-made creams could cause high blood pressure and diabetes in its users,” she said. Nasimun Ara Haque, a member of the Gender in Media Forum, an organization campaigning against the use of fairness creams, said: “Preferring a fairer skin denotes a racist mentality. We must judge people for their talent, not their colour of skin. We are campaigning against the skin whitening creams because it causes women to lose their self respect.” “These creams do not make anyone fairer," she said. "We must get rid of the infatuation surrounding whiter skin first. Not every person needs to be fairer.” This article was first published on Bangla Tribune
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