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On Oct. 31, 2022, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) announced it seized and
banned 435 cosmetics from the market. The products include skin brightening
lotions, creams, gels and soaps that contain hydroquinone, mercury and its

See related: FDA Issues Warnings, Pushes Consumer Education of OTC Skin
Brightening Products

According to the bureau, the constant use of cosmetic products containing
hydroquinone and mercury plus its compounds can result in rashes, swelling,
redness or peeling, fatigue, weakness, bone pain and skin discoloration. Exposure
to high levels of these elements over long periods of time can lead to serious
health problems such as kidney damage, digestive illnesses.

The organization stated, “It is also our responsibility to keep the public informed of
the compliance status of products, including banned cosmetics. . .

[W]e have put up communication on banned products on our website and we do
constant surveillance and monitoring in Kenyan Market …”

It continued, “Banned cosmetics found will be seized for destruction at the expense
of the owner in addition to any other legal action as provided under the law. We
encourage the public to be vigilant and inform KEBS upon encountering any
products suspected to be substandard.”

According to KEBS, mercury, oxidizing agents and hormonal preparations are used
for treating various medical conditions. They are therefore classified as drugs and
should be applied only upon the advice and direction of a medical doctor. All skin
care preparations like creams, lotions, gels, soaps, etc. containing hydroquinone,
steroids and hormonal preparations should be registered by the Pharmacy and
Poisons Board of the Ministry of Health for medical use. 

A full list of banned cosmetics is provided in the KEBS announcement. Following
are select examples.

Hydroquinone-containing Skin Brightening Lotions

  • Jaribu skin lightening lotion
  • A3 lemon skin lightening lotion Princess lotion
  • Amira skin lightening lotion
  • Kiss lotion
  • Peau Claire beauty body lotion
  • A3 clear touch complexion lotion
  • Rico skin lightening lotion
  • Clear touch lotion
  • Fair white body clearing milk
  • Sivoclair lightening body lotion
  • . . . etc.

Soaps Containing Mercury and its Compounds

  • Movate
  • Mekako
  • Jaribu
  • Tura
  • Acura
  • Rico
  • Fair lady
  • Elegance
  • Miki
  • Jambo
  • . . . etc.

Skin Brightening Creams Containing Mercury and its

  • Pimplex medicated cream
  • Pimplex medicated cream
  • New shirley medicated cream
  • Cream preparations containing hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 )
  • Hot movate gel
  • Tenovate
  • Soft and beautiful cream
  • Unic clear super cream
  • Peau claire gel plus
  • Peau claire cream
  • . . . etc.

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