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Musarat Misbah’s warning against the use of toxic Whitening Creams

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On Thursday at Karachi Press Club, Musarat Misbah, health and beauty expert highlighted the many harmful effects of using skin whitening creams, after the government to took action against the manufacturers of such products, many of which contained potent steroids and high concentration of toxic metals.

According to Ms Misbah, society should change its mindset of giving preference to fair complexion that often forced young girls and even boys to use such substandard creams.

This problem has reached alarming levels and assumed the form of an epidemic. Now, we are seeing girls belonging to the northern areas, who naturally have a fairer complexion, using such products and ruining their facial skin, a seasoned beautician heading an organisation working for the treatment and rehabilitation of acid-attack survivors, Musarat said.

While highlighting the many harmful effects of using skin whitening creams, health and beauty experts at a briefing held on Thursday at the Karachi Press Club called upon the government to take action against the manufacturers of such products, many of which contained potent steroids and high concentration of toxic metals.

They also underlined the need for changing societal mindset of giving preference to fair complexion that often forced young girls and even boys to use such substandard creams.

Sharing her experience, Ms Misbah said that she came to know about these harmful creams some years ago when she saw their side-effects on faces of some girls getting treatment for burn injuries. “Their skin condition had worsened,” she said, adding that often it’s the pressure of getting married that forced girls to use such poisonous creams.

She added “This problem has reached alarming levels and taken the form of an epidemic. Now we are seeing girls belonging to the northern areas who have naturally fair complexion, using such products and ruining their facial skin.”

Explaining some studies she said that toxic metals like mercury penetrated into the skin and over time its higher accumulation in the body could damage heart and health of the fetus in case the woman applying such creams was pregnant.

According to her, public should be educated in such matters. Skin whitening creams had been found to be containing high levels of mercury, lead, arsenic, and hydroquinone (substances which are either internationally banned in cosmetics or have a limit if added) in local studies, said by Ibrar Hussain, part of the PSQCA committees as a private member and expert on food technology and cosmetics.

Dr Uzma Tiwana spoke of the emotional trauma girls went through after using such creams and said that it was high time that the issue was raised in the media and action taken.

“Besides, the amount patients spend on treatment later is much higher than what they spend on buying such creams,” she said.

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