The Barbados Drug Service (BDS) is warning the public about creams found on store shelves in Barbados which are advertised to lighten the skin, but which may also cause a variety of complications.
A statement from the BDS disclosed that acting under the instructions of the Barbados Pharmacy Council, it confiscated all products deemed to contravene the Second Schedule of the Pharmacy Act, CAP 372D.
According to the statement, steroidal creams are classified under the Second Schedule of the said Act, which prohibits their sale without a prescription from a locally registered doctor, and mandates dispensing under the supervision of a pharmacist.
There has been a surge in the use of steroidal creams to lighten the skin. The creams are being sold in some beauty supply stores in Barbados. These products are given various names designed to attract attention as beautifying agents, without any warning of the dangers of using them.
These products, however, contain prescription-strength steroid ingredients, such as Clobetasol Propionate and Betamethasone. These ingredients will lighten the appearance by thinning the skin. This thinning of the skin can lead to acne, and make it easier for bacteria to infect the skin, the statement emphasised.
The Drug Service has identified the list of complications from using these products as atrophy or wasting away at the site of application, rosacea, irritancy, and allergy, among other complications.
It further advised that the internal absorption of topical steroids could cause a mild Cushing’s syndrome reaction, or could suppress the patient’s own cortisol supply. Absorption of steroids could also present weight gain, fluid retention or an increase in the white blood cell count, the statement said.
Among the products which have been removed from the shelves of cosmetic stores and which the public is urged not to use are Victoria Lady Papaya Crème, Edguard Gel Forte 30gms, and Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream.
Barbados Drug Service