Ghana bans skin lightening cosmetic products

Skin creams containing hydroquinone must not be sold from August onwards

Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has announced a ban on the sale of cosmetic products containing hydroquinone – a skin bleaching agent known to cause blistering and discolouration of the skin.

The ban will come into place in August this year, according to Answers Africa, joining other African nations Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, which have both outlawed skin bleaching agents in recent years. The decision follows a directive from Ghana’s Standard Authority and will apply to imported products.

James Lartey, a spokesperson for the FDA, told local news site Ghana Star: “Concerning skin lightening products, we are saying that from August 2016, all products containing hydroquinone will not be allowed into the country. From 2016, the acceptance for skin lightening products is going to be zero.”

The use of skin lightening products remains a concern across much of the world, and Africa in particular. However, recent years have seen several nations ban the use of hydroquinone, which has been linked to skin cancer as well as localised irritation, blistering and discolouration.

Hydroquinone is already banned in cosmetic products in the US, Japan, Australia and the European Union. Earlier this year, the Uganda National Board of Standards also announced a ban on imported cosmetics containing mercury and hydroquinone.