Having a white and smooth facial skin tone is the dream of almost every girl in Asean countries. Influenced by international TV stars, many girls in Cambodia have risked their health in the pursuit of their ideal skin tone.
However, pharmacist Roeun Somaly, owner of Facebook page Somalytips, says the way many girls in Cambodia are trying to brighten their skin could be ruining more than just their face and as DIY and homemade creams hit the market without certification from the Health Ministry, users face unknown consequences from the products.
Whitening cream impact
Somaly said facial whitening cream can contain corticosteroid, hydroquinone and mercury, all of which should only be used to reduce inflammation in the body and lighten the skin.
“Some of facial cream makers, especially the homemade producers here, overload chemicals into their products to try and maximise the effect in the minimum time. As a result, this can cause skin inflammation and allergic reactions at a minimum, but it can also cause kidney damage,” said Somaly.
“For example, hydroquinone is recommended to cure dark skin problems, but it should not be used for more than two months, as long term use will damage the skin.”
“When people use chemical elements for skin bleaching or whitening, they use them for a long time. Long term users make their skin thinner and thinner, making it more vulnerable to the elements and easier to burn from the sun,” she said.
“The public are always reminded and warned not to use unknown products for skin treatment, however, there are many people who still risk it.”
“I get lots of messages on my Facebook page every day asking about skin solutions for various reasons, but the most common cause of their problems is because they have overused skin whitening creams,” she said.
Solution for broken skin
She said people think when you use chemicals on your skin for long time it can cause skin cancer, but actually that is not true.
“I rumours around skin cancer being caused by chemical products is not true. However, it will weaken your skin and it make you more susceptible to skin diseases,” she said.
Somaly urged people to meet skin doctors to check their skin damage if they are using products and seek medicine if necessary.
“If you find your face having problems because of any facial cream, you have to stop using the products immediately,” she stressed.
“What you can do is stop using chemicals for at least two weeks and clean your face with warm water regularly.”
“If your face aches or is irritated, don’t try to scrub it with anything abrasive,” she added.
Solution for current cream users
“I have noticed that most whitening cream customers don’t want to stop using their projects until they get skin problems. This is especially true for those who use corticosteroid as initially is will make the skin smoother. However, those who apply corticosteroid for an extended amount of time will weaken their skin and develop acne and scars,” she said.
However, she says correct use of the products will produce good results.
“When you notice your skin has improved, then it is time to stop using it. As once you’ve achieved what you want, you can look to other products which will project the results you’ve achieved,” she said.
“My recommendation is, after you stop using the creams keep your face free of chemicals for two to four weeks. If no skin problems arise in this period, you can start using certified skin care products again,” she added.
According to Somaly, the best skin problem starter-pack is cleanser, sunscreen and moisturiser.
“I would recommend starting slow, with only three basic products at first as your skin needs time to absorb the good elements. After six to eight weeks, you can add other skin care products to improve your skin such as serum, toner and so on,” said Somaly.
- Tags: SKIN