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Though beauty creams promise to work miracles on the human skin, they too have dark sides to this promise. A number of branded beauty creams are allegedly loaded with toxic chemicals which have occupied the country’s cosmetic industry and are posing serious health risks to their users. We still have a wrong phenomenon in our society that associates fairness with beauty. This common desire to be fairer and more beautiful is exploited by few companies who create dazzling advertisements of which allure youngsters to use their fairness products.
Pushing the idea that beauty equates with white skin and that it is possible and more preferable, the cosmetic industry is convincing people to buy and use fairness creams. But in Bangladesh most of the users are not aware of the dark side of using beauty creams. Experts assert that human skin absorbs 60 per cent of the chemicals in products that it comes in contact with, and these chemicals move directly into the bloodstream. In this regard, it is worrying to note that at least 50 per cent of the skin-brightening products available in Bangladesh contain a dangerous level of mercury content. A new report by the Zero Mercury Working Group has recently revealed that the mercury content in one in every two such creams purchased in Bangladesh exceeds the permissible limit which is 1ppm (parts per million).
Health experts opine that substances like mercury, cadmium, lead and titanium oxide pose serious health risks to human skin. Skin-lightening creams containing mercury can also lead to rashes, skin discoloration and blotching. Long-term exposure can cause serious health hazards, including damage to the skin, eyes, lungs, kidneys, digestive, immune and nervous systems.
Considering all above, people should choose beauty creams with more caution and try to minimize their usage. As there is no legal arrangement on behalf of authorities concerned to press the manufacturers to prove the safety of their products, the government should immediately devise regulatory and legislative steps to ensure transparency in producing beauty products. Also as a responsible and conscious citizen, we must give up our colonial attitude that ‘white is right’.