Prohibition of Hydroquinone in Cosmetics Products in India

Prohibition of Hydroquinone in Cosmetics Products in India

A Story by Digital Ram
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The ointments used for decreasing the skin pigmentation consist of a very strong bleaching agent called hydroquinone.

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The ointments used for decreasing the skin pigmentation consist of a very strong bleaching agent called hydroquinone. But effective from April 1, 2019, this chemical has been banned and cannot be sold over-the-counters in India. This step has been taken by the authorities because the unrestricted use of such products is causing redness, discolouration and inflammation and sometimes its long term use may cause permanent blemishes.


What is hydroquinone?


It is one of the major ingredients that is used in most skin lightening cosmetic products. Its main function is to prohibit the production of melanin in the skin and is highly effective in the treatment of some conditions like hyper pigmentation, melasma and other similar treatments.


Why is hydroquinone being prohibited in all cosmetics products in India?


Some research evidence has proved that hydroquinone is acting as a cancer-causing chemical. [SK1] Hydroquinone is also linked with a major medical condition called ochronosis that makes the skin very dark and thick. In this condition, some dome-shaped yellow spots and greyish brown spots are also seen on the skin. In some cases, these spots have also been observed in people using creams containing hydroquinone for a very short period.


Along with that some studies have shown that the adrenal glands function abnormally with high levels of mercury in them in people using hydroquinone containing cosmetic product. Unchecked usage of such products leads to irritation, skin rashes and long term use can cause irreversible skin damage.

Hydroquinone is a ‘strictly to be sold by prescription drug’ all across the world, but in India, it was not well regulated.  So any company can mix these substances as one of the ingredients and can sell it. 


Because of all the ill effects of these chemicals, the relevant sources from Union Health Ministry have made some amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetic Import India Rules of 1945, which makes the cosmetics products containing hydroquinone to fall under section H of these rules. These amendments were highly recommended by the Drug Technical Advisory Board, which is one of the highest drug advisory bodies based on technical matters.


Any cosmetic product with hydroquinone cannot be sold over-the-counter without a doctor's prescription from April 2019.


Henceforth, all products containing hydroquinone need approval from DCGI, before they are sold as a drug to the public.

 

© 2020 Digital Ram


Author's Note

Digital Ram
The ointments used for decreasing the skin pigmentation consist of a very strong bleaching agent called hydroquinone. But effective from April 1, 2019, this chemical has been banned and cannot be sold over-the-counters in India.

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Added on January 16, 2020
Last Updated on January 16, 2020
Tags: Cosmetic Import India