KEBS Bans Skin-Lightening Products

  • Cosmetic products displayed on a shelf in a shop
    Cosmetic products displayed on a shelf in a shop
    File
  • The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has banned 131 skin-lightening products from the Kenyan market said to be containing substances only used with a prescription.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini confirmed that the products remained banned as per their directive and that this was just a reminder of the same.

    "We are reminding Kenyans that the products are harmful, some are carcinogenic and should not be used," Njiraini said in an interview.

    KEBS Director General Bernard Njiraini speaking during a press briefing on July 4, 2022.KBC
    KEBS Director General Bernard Njiraini speaking during a press briefing in July.
    KBC

    Among the products banned are 131 skin-lightening products from the Kenyan market said to be containing substances only used with a prescription.

    “Their use in cosmetics was prohibited through gazette notices 4310 of 14th August 1998 and 7169 of November 2000,” said Njiraini.

    These products include; bleaching creams, lotions, gels, and soaps which also contain hydroquinone, steroids and hormonal preparations which should be registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board for medical use.

    Most of the banned products are available for Ksh.1000 from cosmetic shops and online marketplaces. 

    On the other hand, hydroquinone, mercury, oxidizing agents and hormonal preparations which are used for treating various medical conditions are classified as drugs and should only be applied upon the advice and direction of a medical doctor.

    Mr Njiraini added that these products should not be sold in the open market only in registered pharmacies and chemists.

    The products listed above contain hydroquinone, steroids, mercury and hydrogen peroxide. They have not been registered with Pharmacy and Poisons Board as medicines. 

    Betnovate, Mediven, Diprosone, Nerisone, Hydrocortisone and 0xy 5 and 0xy 10 can be used as human medicines for various skin conditions as they have been registered with Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

    KEBS cautioned Kenyans to be wary of the danger the products pose, maintaining that their mandate is to guarantee the safety of the public.

    A complete list of the banned products can be found on the Kebs(dot)org.

    Pharmacy shelves stocked with products
    Pharmacy shelves stocked with products.
    File
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