Moisturiser triggers UK steroid scare

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

A moisturiser claiming to be herbal has been found to contain
steroids that could be harmful to health, adding to a growing
number of safety scares that have hit the industry in recent

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is advising that consumers stop using OSAS, an intensive body lotion with Aloe Vera. The product, which has been found on sale in a selection of African and Asian Beauty shops in the UK and is available to purchase over the internet, claims to treat eczema and psoriasis. However the MHRA have found a steroid Betamethasone dipropionate present in the lotion, which the agency terms an unlicensed product with illegal claims. Strong corticosteroids such as this are often used in the treatment of eczema, however they are only available on prescription as they can have negative side effects. For example, long term use of such substances can lead to skin thinning and other complications. This follows a handful of high profile cases where the safety of cosmetics products has been questioned. A recent case in the US involved the retraction of a mascara product, which claimed to increase lash length, because it contained an ingredient only licensed for prescription use. In the US the FDA seized $2m (€1.39m) worth of Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Eyelash product as it contained the ingredient bimatoprost. Athena Skin care swiftly withdrew its similar product from the market with promises to relaunch the successor without the offending ingredient. The presence of low levels of lead in some lipsticks, which attracted the attention of Senator John Kerry, has similarly prompted consumer concern over product safety. In addition Chinese toothpaste containing the toxic ingredient DEG both damaged consumer confidence in Chinese export and in product safety in general. Concern for product safety has been cited as a driving force behind the naturals and organic trend. However, in this case the product under question was billed as natural illustrating the need for effective regulation and labelling of natural products in order to instil consumer trust in the sector.

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