Hyderabad: The decision to ban steroid-laced creams and ointments by the health ministry has been met with approval by dermatologists. Most of these creams are sold without a prescription and are consumed on a long-term basis by consumers who are not aware of the side effects of the same.
These over-the-counter creams were found to have carcinogenic properties and cause skin allergies and fungal infections.
Dr T.P.S Bhandari, an oncologist says, “40 per cent of the people in our country suffer from allergic reactions and yet we are also a country that uses cosmetics to a large extent. One can never know the components that are used to add fragrance in our creams which can cause strong skin eruptions.” The long term effects of these creams were one of the key reasons why dermatologists had complained that pharmaceutical companies were selling steroid-based creams.
Dr Gavvala Manmohan, a dermatologist says, “Sometimes cosmetics cause itchy rashes, but these are treatable and often go when the patient stops using the cream. But at the same time, the usage of some can cause pigmentation which can be permanent. Cosmetic dermatitis is a condition where the agents in the product have a chemical reaction with sunlight and this cannot be cured even with laser treatments.” She also added the ill effects of overnight creams that are a part of many consumers’ beauty regimen. “Overnight creams cause the most harm to one’s skin. One should pick natural remedies such as aloe vera, turmeric or sandalwood, which can retain moisture in one’s skin. It is better than leaving chemicals on one’s face, causing allergic reactions.”
Long-term exposure to products leads to accumulation of toxic material on the skin, causing skin cancer. Ganesh Kaishetwar, an oncologist says, “The carcinogens in cosmetics need to be used for years before they can affect the body, but repeated usage leads to accumulation, which can get absorbed by the body and cause internal cancers like ovarian, cervical, blood and even lung cancer.”
Dermatologists had claimed that as most cosmetics do not come under the category of “drugs,” there is no regulatory body, which means that many harmful agents continue to be used in processing and preserving the same.
Dr Akansh Jain, a dermatologist says, “Overuse of any cosmetic product will lead to harmful reactions with the skin. It is a long overdue decision. These creams were making one’s skin more sensitive and wrinklier. And the increase in fungal infections has also been worrying as the components of these creams were harmful for the skin when they mix with sweat or dust.”...