Taarifa Rwanda

Police Seize More Skin Bleaching Products

Police in Musanze District have seized yet another batch of skin whitening cosmetics in the ongoing crackdown on such products.

The goods were seized during a security operation conducted on May 2, in Gahunga Sector, Rwasa Cell, Mutara Village along Cyanika-Musanze highway.

According to the Northern Region Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Alex Rugigana, police seized over 200 pieces of skin whitening products.

Some of the products seized include Peau Claire, Epiderme Crème and Clairemen.

“The seized bleaching creams are listed among 1,342 prohibited brands in Rwanda” CIP Rugigana mentioned.

In November last year, a joint crackdown from the relevant multi-government agency launched a countrywide operation against skin bleaching products.

The institutions involved include Rwanda National Police (RNP), the Ministry of Health as the lead agency, Rwanda Food and Drug Authority, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), among others

There are 1,342 cream and oil brands with hydroquinone and mercury, which are prohibited in Rwanda.

The skin bleaching products are labeled illegal under the ministerial order determining the list of cosmetics whose use is prohibited in Rwanda; the law on organization, 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 products contain chemicals such as mercury and hydroquinone, which can cause liver damage, reduce resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, and increase anxiety, according to the World Health Organization.

If it enters the bloodstream it also results into fatal liver and kidney damage, although medics say the most immediate visible side effect is skin scarring.

Health experts confirm that prolonged use of corticosteroid creams and lotions can also decrease levels of collagen in the skin. 

Collagen strengthens and supports the skin, and a reduced amount can increase the risk of striae commonly known as stretch mark. 

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