The Cambodian Dermatological Association (CDA) warned the public about the risks involved with using skin care products such as lotions or creams that are being sold online without any licence or permit from the authorities.
The CDA’s concerns were raised at the 6th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Cambodian Dermatological Society on December 4. The conference is held annually to increase the quality and efficiency of Cambodia’s dermatologists and to enhance the knowledge of their members in the treatment of dermatitis in the Kingdom.
Chan Vichet, president of the CDA and deputy director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, said some people have been negatively impacted or even harmed by the use of fake skin care products that are unlicensed by the Ministry of Health. He said they are typically distributed through social media or online.
“These cases have affected the health of people’s skin and they can even cause serious complications that can be life-threatening. Some people have suffered infections or disfigurement by getting cosmetic services such as botox injections and plastic surgery from doctors or even beauticians at salons who are not at all trained to do these procedures and don’t have any kind of proper licence,” he said.
Vichet urged the authorities to take firmer action in these cases and the general public to report unlicensed doctors or clinics when encountering them.
He said that at the meeting the stakeholders also discussed ways to increase the awareness of the public so they can avoid the dangerous services or products.
The using of unsafe, impure or counterfeit products was due to people’s limited knowledge about the dangers and their tendency to trust people they know from their community even if they know that person is not a medical professional.
“This can really cause a lot of suffering – not only short-term but also long-term or permanent damage in severe cases where their skin then looks bad and feels even worse and it really negatively impacts their lives,” Vichet warned.
He said the side effects of these bad products can include redness, acne, wrinkles, stretch marks and even chemical burns.
“Because those who sell these products want their customers to believe they work and will make their skin whiter, they put some substances in them that may bleach their skin at first and appear to work but it’s extremely harmful, especially over time, and so the longer they use it the worse the damage gets,” Vichet said.
He called on the public to check with a licensed dermatologist or general care physician before choosing any products to use on their skin.
Srey Touch, a user of skin care products who buys them online, said she believed the advice her friend gave her and decided to buy lotions she recommended. Her face was smooth for the first several days of use but after about two weeks her face became red and irritated with acne.
“It worked beautifully at first but later those products ruined my complexion. I stopped using it after that,” she said.
Srey Touch advised people to be cautious before buying unlicensed beauty products online and should instead buy them from reputable pharmacies with valid business registrations.
The health ministry often warns advertisers of unlicensed cosmetics and medicinal products on Facebook that they will face legal action if they are caught selling products without identification numbers and without permit from the ministry.