In today’s day and age, beauty and perfection is being striven for like never before. Influenced by beauty influencers and photo shopped magazines, the trend is to be ‘flawless.’
The types of products being used extensively are as follows, here are their effects:
Nylon brush, pufa, kathya or pumice stone is often use by people to clean their body. Prolonged use of these can cause nylon brush dermatitis which is seen as dark coloured patches on hands, legs and all friction areas.
Nylon brush dermatosis or nylon towel dermatosis was first reported in Japan. Bluish black pigmentation, the most striking feature in the friction group was seen over the inner ends of the collar bones (medial ends of the clavicles) and at the protrusion seen at the back of the wrist (Ulnar Styloid Process).
Skin lightening creams: Many triple combinations with hydroquinone, retinoid and Steroids are available in the market. Melasma is a common acquired Pigmentary Skin Disorder characterised by macular pigmentation of the face involving the cheeks, upper lips, and the forehead in varying combinations. Prolonged use can cause skin thinning, bruising, white spots and hypersensitive skin.
Steroids: Prolonged use of potent steroids, primarily used in fairness creams, is commonly seen in India. Betamethasone, clobetasol and mometasone are common potent steroids being used as OTC in India for all kinds of skin diseases, without the supervision of a skin specialist. These steroids can cause thinning of the skin, bruising and pigmentation. Overuse of steroids causes ‘steroid rosacea’, which is classified as redness on the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. Topical steroid use also causes acne breakouts.
Hydroquinone: Is a skin lightening and bleaching cream often used by the public for fairness and to treat age spots, freckles and other skin pigmentations. This can cause irritation redness, burning and depigmentation (loss of pigment).
Salicylic acid creams like ringozone, sapat cream b-tex are often used to treat ringworm and warts, which can cause irritation, ulcers and dark patches on the body.
Dithranol or Derobin is used to treat a variety of skin diseases, they often cause irritation, redness and black spots on the body.
Parabens are found in facial cleansers, makeup, deodorant, and other beauty products. They are used as a preservative. Parabens mimic estrogen in the body and can therefore interfere with the reproduction; there is also an associated increased risk of breast cancer.
Fragrance is a term to cover a company’s patented formula and can be found in many beauty products including moisturisers. These have been associated with dermatitis, allergies, respiratory distress and can have detrimental effects on the reproductive system.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are found in 90% of personal care products which includes soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc. These are irritants to the skin, lungs and eyes. They are carcinogenic and can damage the kidneys and lungs.
Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics. It is Carcinogenic, and can cause skin allergies; it can also adversely affect the Immune System
It is important that one must not use any product on the face unless it is recommended by a dermatologist. Make sure that products are bought from good, established stores.
Do not fall in to websites claiming cure of a specific condition or fairness, these may cause long term harm. It is best to try a product on the inner arm for two days, before applying on to the face. In case of an allergy that persists for over 24 hours with itching and discomfort, visit a skin specialist and do not self-treat.
The author is a Consultant Dermatologist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi