|Creams containing corticoids that are being sold in Viet Nam without proper regulation are being misused by people seeking whiter skin or alleviation of acne, according to medical experts. — Illustrative Photo Doan Tan
HCM CITY (VNS) — Creams containing corticoids that are being sold in Viet Nam without proper regulation are being misused by people seeking whiter skin or alleviation of acne, according to medical experts.
A 29-year-old pregnant woman from the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, who had used the cream daily for three months, for example, was diagnosed with corticosteroid seborrheic dermatitis, which can damage and enlarge hair follicles and cause flaky, rough skin.
The dermatitis made the woman look decades older than her age.
"I didn't dare meet anyone because I was afraid of being laughed at," she said. "I thought my facial skin problem was due to pregnancy."
After delivering her baby in June, the obstetrician told her that her facial problem was due to overuse of the cream.
The woman received treatment from Dr Nguyen Phuc Cam Anh, a former lecturer at HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy. Her skin condition has improved by 80 per cent.
"If she continues to follow treatment, her recovery will reach 90 to 100 per cent," Anh said.
Another woman, 31, was also diagnosed with dermatitis caused by overuse of a cream containing corticoids.
Although she was advised to stop using the cream, she continued but finally stopped after seeing a doctor.
A 19-year-old HCM City man who had acne said he began to use a cream with corticoids after seeing an advertisement with famous singers and models promoting the cream.
"I did not know about the bad effects of corticoids," he said.
He said the Ministry of Health and other government agencies should manage and strictly fine manufacturers of such creams.
Anh said the creams were sold without proper governmental oversight.
"Many people, especially teenagers, who want beautiful, whiter skin, or who want to treat acne quickly, buy the creams".
"Corticoids can cause skin sensitivity, and long-term use in particular should be avoided", Anh said.
Since 2009, Anh has treated 2,749 of the total of 3,665 patients with dermatitis caused by overuse of corticoids. Of the total she treated, 28 per cent were aged 11-17 and 45 per cent aged 18-39.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, complications of corticoids overuse include Cushing's disease, high blood pressure, increased fat on the face (rounded face), and diabetes.
Corticoids should only be used with a doctor's prescription, Anh said, adding that Viet Nam did not have any official figures about dermatitis caused by overuse of corticoid. — VNS