A fellow expert, a paediatrician Dr Richard Idro says many parents of babies with children who report with skin problems report having used unbranded mixed moisturizers which makes it hard for doctors to establish what exactly could have caused a particular reaction.
At the Neonatal Unit of Kawempe
National Referral Hospital, a lady who declines to be named sells baby
moisturizers and soaps to mothers. But they have one strict instruction; to either
carry them in their handbags as they move out or conceal them in a piece of
paper or cloth.
Failure to abide by this strict
rule can cost you a tin of moisturizer that comes in different sizes at a price
ranging between 10, 000 and 20, 000 Shillings.
When Uganda Radio Network visited
the facility on Tuesday morning, four mothers had lined up to buy tins which
are only labelled with phone numbers of the manufacturer and what the baby
jelly can heal which include itching, spot rash and boils. Nothing is mentioned
about the ingredients or a quality mark by Uganda National Bureau of Standards
as required of all cosmetics produced in the country as an indicator of having
been tested to meet the quality standards.
While the quality of her products
cannot be guaranteed, the seller says she has been in this business for over
ten years. One of her ardent customers
Agnes Nantaba says she has used these cosmetics on her children for over four
years and the results have been good. She was also recommended to the products
by her friend who she says had used the products for over seven years.
Dr Robert Asaba, a consultant in
medical and cosmetic dermatology says the use of such mixtures has become very
popular especially among women and children who are mostly referred to them by
word of mouth.
//Cue in; “For children of course…
Cue out: …normal
local shop.” //
He said most of them are not
advertised and are got from trusted places like clinics and hospitals, yet they
could be very dangerous since most of the maker’s mix steroids which can have
more devastating effects than mercury and hydroquinone the commonest lightening
chemical which has for years been the target of a ban by regulators because of
the danger of it causing cancer.
For him, whether a particular
jelly lightens the skin or doesn’t, it’s important to pay attention to the
ingredients as some effects manifest really slowly but can lead to chronic
//Cue in; “Steroids
Cue out… get diabetes, ulcers.”//
A fellow expert, a paediatrician
Dr Richard Idro says many parents of babies with children who report with skin
problems report having used unbranded mixed moisturizers which makes it hard
for doctors to establish what exactly could have caused a particular reaction.
In an earlier interview with URN,
Idro said that unscrupulous dealers are mixing steroids which they market as
remedies for baby skin irritation and heat rash, yet they end up lightening
them or thinning something that leads to bigger complications like skin
He says there are many safe,
branded and certified baby products which should preferably be chosen with the
the help of a doctor who can ably distinguish what moisturizer works best depending
on the baby’s skin.
Dr Asaba says having suspicious
products on the market shouldn’t stop parents from using baby oils and jellies
as to him, moisturizing is very important for maintaining baby skin healthy.
//Cue in; “All baby skin...
Cue out…. becomes
Both specialists call for
regulation of steroid use just as UNBS is doing for use of mercury and
hydroquinone in cosmetics.
Steroid creams are often used as
the first-line treatment for skin inflammation caused by conditions such as psoriasis,
eczema and many other skin diseases. The creams are very effective in controlling
skin flare-ups and relieving symptoms such as itching and irritation, even
though they cannot cure the underlying causes of inflammation.
Commonly used topical steroids
(corticosteroids) include hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, fluocinonide, and clobetasol,
which work by preventing cells from producing inflammation-causing chemicals
that are released in response to a variety of different triggers.
Prolonged use of steroids can
result in acne, blurred vision, insomnia, high blood pressure, increased
appetite, weight gain, nervousness, restlessness, Sudden mood swings and