Police operations to eliminate skin bleaching products has continued to yield more results.
The latest operation in Kamonyi District conducted on January 13, led to the seizure of about 36 brands of skin whitening agents.
Prominent among the products taken off shelves include Skin White, Secret White and Diamond White.
Others include Carotene, Diproson, Caro-Light, Clear Men, and Epiderm Crème.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Karekezi, the Southern region Police spokesperson said the harmful products were seized in Kayumba Sector.
The operation was conducted jointly with officials from the Ministry of Health and local authorities, he added.
“This is part of the joint efforts to enforce the law against bleaching cosmetics, and like in other parts of the country, it will continue to all trading centres or busy towns in the region to protect Rwandans from the ill-effects these products cause,” CIP Karekezi said.
The skin bleaching products are labelled illegal under the ministerial order determining the list of cosmetics whose use is prohibited in Rwanda; law on organisation, functioning and competence of the Council of Pharmacists; law governing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors in Rwanda; and the law relating to the regulation and inspection of food and pharmaceutical products.
The legal instruments lists 1,342 bleaching creams prohibited in Rwanda.
The products contain chemicals such as mercury and hydroquinone, which can cause liver damage, reduce resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, and increase anxiety, depression and psychosis, according to the World Health Organization.
If it enters the blood stream it also results into fatal liver and kidney damage, although medics say the most immediate visible side effect is skin scarring.