Nigerian Association of Dermatologists (NAD) has raised concern over poor regulation of cosmetic products in the country, saying many of these products have bad side effects resulting in diabetics, kidney and other systemic diseases.
President of the association, Dr Tahir Mohammed, stated this during the 15th Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of NAD, with the theme: “Promoting equitable access to dermatological care,” in Abuja.
He said though the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), under the law establishing it, is supposed to regulate cosmetics, there is need to further strengthen the law and make it specific for cosmetics.
“Specifically, there is no law but under the law establishing NAFDAC, they are supposed to regulate it but the level of regulation is not optimum so there is need to further strengthen the law and make it specific for cosmetics because many of them have very bad side effects.
“I mean if you see anybody that is bleaching, you see it on the skin that the person is bleaching after the initial colour change that is desired you have a rebound repigmentation and it becomes a problem and many of them have systemic problems like mercury contained inside them can cause kidney disease and other systemic diseases.
“Steroids can bring about diabetes and skin diseases, so if we don’t regulate them we create more problems everyday and that is why we have many new diseases coming in that we don’t know where they are coming from but if you check and go back you find out they are related to some of these things people use on their skin,” he explained.
Mohammed lamented the existing poor dermatologists to patients ratio in the country, saying 125 dermatologists to over 200million population is grossly inadequate.
“The number of dermatologists are few, about 125 for over 200 million population. The facilities where you can access dermatology care is also a problem. For example: in the whole of the North East, there is just one dermatologist practicing there, in the other regions maybe a little bit better if you take it on a regional basis but by the time you distribute it across the states you find out that most dermatologist are concentrated in just the cities,” he said.
The chairman, senate committee on health, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said the issue of regulating cosmetics has received the attention of the senate and the motion was past recently, adding that by this week, there will be a public hearing on it.
Also, the chairperson of the occasion, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani), urged governments at all levels to give priority attention to dermatological issues and training of the needed personnel.