Always ensure your face is clean before applying cream. Image Credit: Getty Images

Dubai: Health authorities have warned residents not to use three brands of unregistered skin whitening creams that were found to have been circulating in the UAE.  

The Department of Health, the regulatory authority of the health care sector in Abu Dhabi, announced that the skin whitening creams were banned in the UAE for containing the harmful ingredient Hydroquinone. 

The unregistered brands include AHA Lightening Gel, HQ Lightening Gel and Bionic Skin Lightening Gel.

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The Ministry of Health and Prevention in the UAE has previously issue advice about unregistering whitening creams sold online, and explained that, “while hydroquinone is an active ingredient in therapeutic creams, very long-term use of these type of creams could lead to skin cancer."

What is Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a skin lightener used in many whitening creams and dark mark fade treatments. It reduces the production of melanin in your skin, so it is great for fading hyperpigmentation, acne marks, sun spots, melasma, and other skin discoloration issues.

According to studies, hydroquinone has some carcinogenic effects when applied to skin. It is considered cytotoxic, which are toxic to cells, and mutagenic.

Other side effects of hydroquinone also include:

  1. Increased exposure to UV radiation
  2. Sensitivity to sunlight
  3. Increased risks of getting hyperpigmentation
  4. Contact dermatitis and skin irritation