Beauty without bugsLack of regulation means dangerous products are being sold in the market
Most of the hair and skin care products available in the market are sold over-the-counter without prior government scrutiny. While we readily purchase them, what we often do not know is that they end up doing more harm than good. The personal care industry is effectively unregulated. Such regulatory oversight has led to a few fraudulent people and companies exploiting the vulnerable people for profit. Keeping such ill practices in mind, the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, for the first time, formulated criteria pertaining to the buying and selling of beauty products—from lipstick to sunscreen, body lotion and so on. This is a an appreciable step.
Over the years, the craze to use beauty products to look better has increased exponentially. From classics like moisturiser, foundation, eye shadow, lip colour to more dangerous ones like products promising the restoration of a woman’s virginity, and the enlargement, or reduction, of breasts and bottoms—one just needs to name it, and the product is right there in the market. What’s more, numerous outlets wrongly advertise that the shady products are imported from different places. According to a report published earlier in this paper, many other social media marketers sell similar products; and in the international market, they are even available on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay. But in Nepal, neither doctors nor regulatory bodies have determined these products as safe or even defined the extent of the adverse effects they may cause.
Often, in our quest to enhance our features, we put health behind aesthetics. Most of the products sold in the market are uncertified. Using uncertified products can cause adverse effects on consumer health. The effects may range from infections to severe allergic reactions. The Department of Food Technology and Quality Control has come with certain regulations on cosmetic products, and they must not be limited to paper. The criteria must be strictly enforced. For example, in the European Union, according to the European Union Regulation on cosmetic products, ‘it is an offence to supply a cosmetic product that may cause damage to human health or that contains specific restricted or prohibited substances.’
The authorities concerned here should also strictly implement the rules and regulations. The rights of the consumer need to be taken more seriously by creating stringent laws and a redressal mechanism that actually penalises perpetrators. The government needs to make sure that market enterprises are upholding the standards.