Retailing of 'fairness' ointments continues

SHARJAH — Despite the recent ban by Sharjah Municipality on retailing of dermatological creams and ointments in shops selling beauty and cosmetic products, outlets continue to sell these prescribed ointments for burns and eczema, or for what is becoming increasingly popular, as complexion whitening creams to beauty-conscious customers.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Sat 15 Apr 2006, 11:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:51 PM

Speaking to Khaleej Times, a number of women who regularly purchase these products for facial treatments from cosmetic supply shops in Sharjah disclosed that these ointments include Lucceed R, Cora, Petaderm, Crusader among many other creams — often prescribed by doctors for treating severe skin diseases such as eczema.

Mona Abdulla, from Sharjah, said: “I understand these kinds of medicines are very strong, but they improve my complexion and my skin does become fairer temporarily. These ointments are available in a number of these outlets in Sharjah. I used to buy Lucceed R from an outlet located on Al Zahra Street.”

Maha Jihad, also from Sharjah, said that Petaderm ointment is sold in pharmacies against a dermatologist's prescription for treating eczema and severe skin rash. "But I often purchase it from beauty goods outlets for whitening my skin. The sales staff at these outlets often try to convince their customers to buy a variety of these creams and mix them together before application for quick results. I simply refuse to take up their advice because I understand these people are promoting their products without any concern about their customers' health. They expose the customers to health hazards just to earn little commission,” she added.

Hani Rabee, a salesperson at one of the outlet, said that several outlets are now printing posters and stickers themselves for skin and hair treatment medicines that should otherwise be prescribed only by a qualified dermatologist.

“The posters highlight that the creams and ointments are cosmetic products to be used for skin whitening, better complexion and thickening of hair, giving it a more natural look. Many women often believe in the claims made in these posters and purchase the products — only to later discover that the cream is not as effective as it is touted to be. And yet, customers often return to the outlet later only to buy yet another cream in the hope it will prove to be more effective."

Abdullah Al Amri, Director-General of Sharjah Municipality, said that the civic body has recently decided to force companies, outlets, factories dealing with cosmetic goods to practise legally and to confine themselves only to the business activity mentioned in their licence.

The decision also mandates them to print the validity and expiry date of the product on the packaging, as well as name of the product and place of manufacture using permanent ink. Under the decision, manufacturers should register the product in the record of the Ministry of Health and maintain a record of the product validity certificates attested by UAE embassy in the country of origin.

The decision also prohibits retailing of prescribed medicines, as cosmetic products and printing posters or stickers for skin and hair treatment.

The circular has already been distributed to these companies and they have been given a two-month period to streamline their business in line with the policy of public health protection.

The health inspectors are also carefully monitoring the market to minimise any malpractice by any such outlets. The municipal authorities have also urged the public to contact the municipality's emergency section to complain against any such illegal activity they may come across.

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