Zimbabwe News

Skin-lightening cosmetics face ban

Some hair-straightening creams and skin-lightening cosmetics that have been linked to cancer could soon be banned from the local market under new regulations spearheaded by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ), it has been learnt.

Stakeholder consultations are underway ahead of the promulgation of the Medicines and Allied Substances Control (Cosmetics) Regulations later this year.

This follows recent research by the United States’ National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which linked hair-straightening chemicals to increased risk of hormone-related breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.

In an interview, MCAZ public relations officer Mr Davison Kaiyo said the hair-straightening creams market is presently unregulated since most products are not legally defined as medicines.

“The authority is currently engaging the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other stakeholders to draft regulations to standardise this sector,” he said.

“This is in the interest of public health and in line with international best practices.

“The regulations will also prohibit an unlicensed person from selling, manufacturing or importing for sale any cosmetic that may cause damage to human health when used under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use.”

MCAZ has lined up stakeholder engagements to solicit input to facilitate drafting of the regulations.

“They will define cosmetics as any substance or mixture that is intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body such as the epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity.

“The regulations seek to make sure that cosmetics that are available on the Zimbabwean market are safe and of good quality.”

Cosmetics such as skin-lightening creams and hair straighteners imported mainly from Zambia and South Africa have flooded the local market.

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