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Banned Cosmetic Products Containing Harmful Substances

The Kenya Bureau of Standards invoking legal notice number 66 of 1999 and Legal Notice 155 of 1998 (read together with legal notice 75 of 2000), issued a public notice in the media to inform and educate consumers on the harmful effects of mercury, hydroquinone, and hormonal preparations and oxidizing agents contained in some cosmetic products in the market.
The action was in line with these legal notices, which empower the Kenya Bureau of Standards to prohibit any goods, which do not comply with Kenya Standards or any other approved standards.

In Kenya, these products have been inappropriately used for skin lightening, purposes. The prohibition/ban is aimed at protecting unsuspecting consumers and discourage dumping of these products in the Kenyan Market.

Hydroquinone, oxidizing agents and hormonal preparations are used for treating various medical conditions. They are therefore classified as drugs and should be applied only upon the advice and direction of a medical doctor.

All skin care preparations like creams, lotions, gels, soaps, etc containing hydroquinone, steroids and hormonal preparations should be registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of the Ministry of Health for medical use. Their use in cosmetics was prohibited through gazette notices 4310 of 14th August 1998 and 7169 of November 2000.

The Government wishes to state that the following products are registered with Pharmacy and Poisons Board to be used as human medicines for various skin conditions:
  • Betnovate
  • Mediven
  • Diprosone
  • Nerisone
  • Dermovate
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Oxy 5 and Oxy 10
These products should only be used on the recommendation of a medical doctor and for such period of time as the doctor may prescribe. They should not be sold in the open market but only in registered pharmacies and chemists.

Cosmetic products listed below contain hydroquinone, steroids, mercury and hydrogen peroxide. They have not been registered with Pharmacy and Poisons Board as medicines. They therefore, should NOT BE OFFERED FOR SALE as they have not been registered and approved for use in Kenya.

Skin lightening creams containing hydroquinone

  • Jaribu cream
  • Mekako cream
  • Amira cream
  • Tura skin toning cream
  • Vesako medicated beauty cream
  • Rico complexion cream
  • Madonna medicated cream
  • Mrembo medicated beauty cream
  • Shirley cream
  • Kiss -medicated beauty cream
  • Uno21 cream
  • Princess patra luxury complexion cream
  • Zarina medicated skin lightener cream
  • Envi skin toner
  • Viva super lemon
  • Ambi special complexion cream
  • Lolane cream
  • Nadinola cream
  • Glotone complexion cream
  • Nindola cream
see also
Consumers International

Uganda Consumers' Protection Association (UCPA)

Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA)

Uganda National Bureau of Standards list of certified products as at April 2010