The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Beauty tips, it’s the skin off your nose
- Dermatologists drive home risks of unscientific cosmetics in rampant misuse

What’s on your skin' Curd, cream, cucumber, orange peel and all kinds of herbs. Are they actually good for you'

This debate has raged for centuries, but city-based dermatologists say that applying them on the skin does not make any difference. However, use of products that have not been proven scientifically can have a disastrous effect on the skin, causing infection and disease.

Dermatologists have questioned the tendency of Calcuttans in recent times to depend on herbs and fruits for skincare, simply because the notions are propagated by several skin therapists, who cause more harm than good to the people. “People fail to understand that instead of applying curd and cucumber peel, one can consume them and reap the benefits,” says dermatologist Subrata Malakar.

He added that apart from using unscientific products, patients turn up at his clinic with severe damage done to the hair. “We keep on receiving patients, mostly from the younger generation, with rashes all over their legs and hands, caused by faulty methods of removing unwanted hair. Then there are patients who are allergic to certain cosmetic products, but are too ignorant to stop using them, only because the product is a popular brand,” Malakar added.

Keeping all this in mind, city-based dermatologists announced a vigorous campaign at a national conference against the mushrooming of beauty parlours that claim to promote good looks through cosmetic use.

The dermatologists have also trained their guns on beauty therapists who “experiment on people with their cocktail alternative medicines. “We do not saying that all beauty therapists are wrong, but somewhere down the line, stress on aesthetic beauty has contributed to soaring skin ailments that can be avoided,” said Koushik Lahiri, a city skin surgeon.

Joining the attack against beauty parlours and health centres is beauty therapist June Tomkyns. “I have always spoken against increasing use of unscientific means in beauty care. People nowadays lack basic knowledge and sense of hygiene. There are several products that are simply not good but frequently used, just because they are supposed to be herbal products,” Tompkins complained.

“There must be some way to bring together the dermatologist and the beauty therapist in the campaign,” said another beautician of a popular parlour.

“Unhealthy conditions in beauty hubs have always contributed to skin ailments, mostly infections in the skin. Discussions on the topic at the conference have been a runaway success and never before has this serious issue been discussed at a national platform throughout the day,” added Lahiri.

Dermatologists have also raised the issue of cosmetic use on children, without realising the harmful effects. “We get so many cases of skin eruptions and infections in the paediatric group, mainly through the ignorance of parents. We are stepping up our efforts to warn people about the ill-effects,” added N. Mukherjee, another specialist. Doctors warn against the irrational use of “beauty” products in paediatric age-groups.

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