Hidden Killers for Women: Mercury, Steroids and Hydroquinone in Skin Whitening and Bleach Creams
Women more often try to whiten their skin and as a consequence poison their bodies. A survey was performed to study the awareness in people, particularly women, about hazards caused by skin lightening creams and bleach creams due to the presence of chemical agents like mercury, steroids and hydroquinone. The Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) mentioned that many dangerous chemicals inclusive steroid and mercury ipecac were being used in face whitening creams that might lead to skin diseases inclusive skin cancer and black spots on the skin. The only skin bleaching chemical recognized by the FDA is hydroquinone but, any skin bleaching cream with over 2% may cause severe side effects. The aim of the study was to examine the awareness as well as misuse of skin whitening products along with other steroidal drugs. It is the matter of fact that fairness creams contain potentially harmful steroids, to attain fair complexion. A sample size of 200 women was distributed with questionnaires. Almost 82% of women between ages 16 to 40 are unaware of the deleterious effects caused by skin whitening, fairness and bleach creams available across the country and only 18% women were aware of harmful effects. For the same purpose, we also visited different parlors and dermatologists. From the facts and figures obtained we conclude that FDA must reinvestigate the skin whitening and bleaching products containing banned amount of mercury, high dose steroids and hydroquinone above 2% and steroidal drugs like Betnovate must be dispensed after counseling by pharmacists and health practitioners.