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July 26, 2016

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Steroid hormones found in face masks

SOME face masks sold online are infused with illegal “addictive hormones” that have desirable short-term effects but cause skin problems when used for too long, according to an investigation by the food and drug watchdog in south China’s Guangdong Province.

Officials bought 137 face masks, priced from about 20 yuan to 200 yuan (US$30) each, on the Internet. Of them, 33 were found to contain glucocorticoids, a class of steroid hormones, the use of which has been restricted by China’s health authority since 2007, China Central Television reported.

Glucocorticoids are widely used by doctors to reduce skin inflammation, as well as for whitening and rejuvenation. However, patients can experience side effects such as skin allergies and disorders, CCTV reported.

“One can get addicted after using glucocorticoids face masks for 14 successive days,” said Wang Baoxi, a senior doctor at the Plastic Surgery Hospital with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

“Users will find their skin is very supple and smooth, and feel uncomfortable if they stop using it. But after another two weeks, skin rashes will appear, and they need to see a doctor.”

The number of people experiencing adverse reactions has been on the increase for the past 10 years, Wang said, adding that about one fifth of patients at his hospital with skin problems are regular users of face masks, especially those with whitening or anti-aging properties.

“Face masks that have strong short-term effects usually contain harmful substances,” said Xie Zhihao, director of the cosmetics department at Guangdong Food and Drug Administration.

The authority also found that 32 of the 33 glucocorticoid-infused samples were made illegally, CCTV reported.


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