CERTAIN WHITENING agents, including one that is being widely advertised on social media, can result in blindness or skin cancer, a senior government dermatologist warned yesterday.
Pills, liquids or cosmetics offering to whiten the skin usually contain a high amount of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and should ideally be prescribed by qualified dermatologists, Dr Jinda Rojjanamethin, acting director of the Public Health Ministry's Institute of Dermatology, said.
The doctor went on to explain that users of these so-called whitening liquid doses could experience a burning sensation, flaking or inflammation of the skin or they might become far too sensitive to sunlight. These products could contribute to skin cancer if used over an extended period and even cause blindness if applied too close to the eye, he added.
Instead, the doctor said, people wishing to whiten their skin should go to qualified dermatologists, who will prescribe licensed ointments or lotions that contain the acceptable amount of AHA-based agents and do not harm the skin. They will also specify the correct usage of the product and the duration.
Manufacturers and sellers of whitening agents that have not been endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can be subject to six months in prison and/or a fine of Bt30,000, he said.
Dr Paisarn Dunkum, FDA deputy director-general, explained that all cosmetics or skin-treatment agents had to be registered with the FDA and those being sold without a label or description would automatically be considered illegal. Those who produce or sell these agents could face imprisonment, he warned.