MoH bans cosmetic products

National 2 minutes, 26 seconds


THE Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday announced a ban on four cosmetic products revealed to be adulterated with potentially hazardous undeclared substances.

Mercury was found in skincare products labelled ‘AZ Cosmetic by Azma 100% Original Day Cream’ and ‘AZ Cosmetic by Azma 100% Original Night Cream’, as well as an unknown cream packaged in a white and red container.

Meanwhile, ‘AZ Cosmetic by Azma 100% Original Treatment Cream’ tested positive for hydroquinone and tretinoin.

“The adulterant found in these products can cause adverse effects that are potentially hazardous to the people using them,” said MoH, adding that mercury is a potent ingredient prohibited in cosmetic products under the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Regulations 2007.

Due to its adverse effects, mercury is prohibited in cosmetic products. The substance, which tends to accumulate in the body, is readily absorbed through the skin on topical application.

MoH explained that exposure to mercury can cause skin rashes, memory loss and muscle weakness while high levels of exposure may result in damage to the brain and kidneys. It is also extremely toxic to unborn children.

Hydroquinone and tretinoin, potent ingredients used in western prescription medicines to treat skin conditions, are also prohibited in skincare products by law.

“The unsupervised use of hydroquinone may cause skin hypersensitivity, skin discolouration resulting in gradual darkening of the affected skin area and an increased risk of cancer,” said the ministry, noting that it could also lead to redness, peeling and scarring of the skin.

MoH said it has not issued any approval for the importation or Cosmetic Notification Acknowledgement Letter for the sale of these products.

Following the result of laboratory testing, the products are not allowed to be imported and sold in Brunei. Members of the public who have purchased or used these products were advised to stop using them immediately.

“They should also consult a medical practitioner if they feel unwell or experience any undesirable reaction as a result of using them,” said the ministry.

MoH warned against the retail of these products including online such as on social media as it is an offence to import and market cosmetic products in the local market without a Cosmetic Product Notification Acknowledgement Letter issued by the authorities.

Offenders can be fined up to $5,000, imprisoned for a maximum of two years or both if found guilty of flouting the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Regulations 2007.

The products, which were tested by the Drug Quality Control Section at the Department of Pharmaceutical Services, were obtained through post-marketing surveillance activities conducted by the Pharmacy Enforcement Section at retail outlets.

MoH called on the public to report to the Pharmacy Enforcement Section if any of these products are still found on the local market.

More information can be obtained by contacting the Pharmacy Enforcement Section at 2393298 extension 208, sending an email to or by visiting the first floor, Department of Pharmaceutical Services’ Building, Kg Madaras, Mukim Gadong A.

The Brunei Times