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Why Health Ministry Banned Steroid-Filled Fairness Creams

The health ministry has ordered the ban of around 14 steroid-filled fairness creams and ointments.

Why Health Ministry Banned Steroid-Filled Fairness Creams

The health ministry has ordered ban of steroid-filled fairness creams and ointments


  1. Steroid-filled fairness creams can cause skin rashes
  2. Fairness creams can lead to skin thinning
  3. Fairness creams can cause wrinkles on the skin

Did you know? Steroids in fairness creams can be harmful for your skin. The Indian Association of Dermatologists Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) observed World Skin Health Day on April 6. This year, the organisation observed a World Skin Health Day in order to raise awareness about fairness creams and ointments which are filled with steroids that are harmful for the skin. According to dermatologists and family physicians, there has been an increase in the amount of fungal infections among people. These infections are known to be highly contagious and are resistant to almost kinds of treatments and are a burden on the healthcare system in India.

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The organisation said in a statement that there has been an abuse of steroid creams and steroid combination creams because of negligence on the part of Health ministry. Dermatologists also complained that pharmaceutical companies have been selling steroid-filled creams and ointments to people who were not using them under medical supervision.

Also read: Look Your Best This Summer: The Best Summer Skin Care Tips

Following the complaint, the health ministry has taken a move to ban over-the-counter sale of steroid-filled creams and ointments without prescription. Around 14 such creams have been banned by the health ministry in order to prevent indiscriminate sale of topical preparations containing steroids and antibiotics without prescription.

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A notification was issued on March 23 wherein 14 steroid-based creams were put under Schedule H category by making amendments to certain Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.

The decision was made in consultation with Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), which too had recommended a ban on the sale of such creams without prescription. The board had also submitted its Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB).

Also read: 6 Foods To Eat For Glowing Skin

The changed rules will be applied to skin creams with steroids and prescription drugs which are not meant for ordinary cleansing and moisturising of the face.

The banned creams include flucinonide, alclometasone, desonide, desoximetasone and beclomethasone to name a few.

fairness creams


Dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia Sethi says that steroids are quite harmful for the skin. "Creams with steroids are very bad for skin as they can make the skin very thin. These creams can also cause rashes, redness and wrinkles on the skin. They can even cause stretch marks on the skin," she says.

Also read: Use Saffron For Perfect Glowing Skin In Summer

She says that many creams today contain steroids because there are many skin diseases which are treated with steroids. But steroids in skin whitening creams make the skin more sensitive and wrinklier.

"There are other treatments which can help in skin lightening. Fairness creams with lighter ingredients are safe to use. But you have to be careful about the ingredients as there are many different kinds of fairness creams. I would never suggest fairness creams to anyone. I will suggest sun block creams. The best way to make your skin get whiter is to avoid getting tanned," says Dr Kiran. 

(With inputs from PTI)

(Dr Kiran Lohia Sethi is a dermatologist at Isya Aesthetics Pvt Ltd)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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