The government ministry’s Pharmaceutical Division stated in an official release last week named the two products as Dermaceutic Spot Peel Cream and Dermaceutic Spot Cream could no longer be sold in Malaysia.
Dermaceutic is an Ireland-based brand that is generally distributed by dermatology professionals worldwide.
The products have been marketed in the country as multifunctional skin care creams, targeting both skin lightening, as well as for the treatment of skin lightening.
Products to be removed from shelves within 72 hours
The ministry said it had asked the company to cease the sale and supply of the product with immediate effect, while it was given a further 72 hours to remove all physical stocks from the market.
The ministry cited the reason for ceasing sales of these lines is being that both products contain hydroquinone and tretinoin, which are both said to be potentially toxic, even for topical use.
The statement went on to say that the two ingredients were classified for pharmaceutical products only and that this means that any products containing them should be registered with the Drug Control Authority, and only administered by professionals.
Tretinoin only for over-the-counter, hydroquinone linked to cancer
Tretinoin is defined as a carboxlic acid form of vitamin A, as well as being classified as all-trans retinoic acid. It is commonly available in global pharmaceutical brands such as Retin-A, in doses of 0.025% to 0.1%.
Although it is commonly used as a topical acne treatment, it is also used in anti-aging treatments, where it is said to target collagen levels in the dermis, as well as treatments for stretch marks.
Hydroquinone is an aromatic organic compound that commonly used as a depigmentation or skin whitening agent in a range of skin care products, mainly for medical applications and under professional administration.
In 2006 the USFDA revoked its approval of hydroquinone and banned its use as an over-the-counter products on the back of research that suggested it might be a carcinogen.