If you have been on Instagram for any length of time you have seen the magic creams, the ones that will get you to look like a ghost in 3-7days. By bleaching your skin and taking away any ounce of protection provided by your skin.
‘’Off–label use is the use of pharmaceutical drugs for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group, dosage, or route of administration.’’
One of the most misused off label products used for skin bleaching is steroid creams – the movates, dermovate and the likes which are sold over the counter like vaseline. While I knew using a steroid for bleaching your skin was terrible, little did I know there was something much worse
TRIPLE ACTION CREAMS
How did I find out? Someone reached out to me on Instagram because his skin was acting up with irritation, redness and rashes. After asking a few questions it turned out he was using FUNBACT –A triple-action cream and had been applying it to his whole body for over 8 years! I didn’t even know where to start from.
He said a friend recommended the cream to him and he didn’t know it was for skin lightening.
Let me just start here – If you are using a cream called triple action that is not Vaseline or a normal skincare product you KNOW it lightens the skin and I know that you know okay?
Now let’s talk about FUNBACT –A and go through the side effects after long term use as well as what you can expect when you stop using it.
WHAT IS FUNBACT-A?
Funbact-A cream is a combination of a synthetic antifungal agent Clotrimazole; a broad-spectrum antibacterial antibiotic Neomycin sulphate; and a potent topical corticosteroid Betamethasone dipropionate.
So essentially FUNBACT A is a treatment cream that contains an antibiotic, anti-fungal and a steroid.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
- The first thing is that it is a TREATMENT! Meaning that it should only be used if you have an infection with bacteria or a fungus.
- The second is that it is supposed to be applied over a small area, not on the whole body
- The third it is supposed to be used for a short period of time, at a maximum 2-3 weeks not years.
So what can possibly go wrong? Sadly a lot and I will go through each of the ingredients
Human Skin Flora (Microbiome)
Human skin – with bacteria and fungi
The term skin flora refers to the microorganisms which reside on human skin. Many of them are bacteria but also consist of fungi on the top skin hair follicles. Skin flora is usually non-pathogenic meaning it does not cause disease nor is it harmful to the host and is beneficial.
The benefits bacteria can offer include preventing other harmful organisms from colonizing the skin surface which can cause infections. So what happens when a cream like FUNNACT A is used long term?
These creams clear cut the good bacteria on your skin, and give the more dangerous bacteria room to spread. Research confirms that treatment with triple-action antibiotic ointment almost immediately reduced the level of bacterial diversity in the skin. This effect lasted as long as a week after a few days of treatment so imagine what 8 years of use have done.
Not only did the creams destroy the ‘’good’’ bacteria on the skin they also made them faulty by basically affecting how they functioned. Neither of these bode well for skin health because if the ‘good’’ bacteria is gone or reduced and cannot function properly guess what happens? Dieses causing bacteria can settle on the skin causing havoc including infections, constant irritation and discomfort.
Another important factor is antibiotic resistance; currently, excessive use of topical antibiotics is directly responsible for increasing antibacterial resistance. This is important because
Increasing resistance makes these drugs ineffective which means if you have an infection and need treatments Sorry nothing will work
Resistance to topical antibiotic creams also affects the effectiveness of oral and IV medicines. This means if you have a serious infection there won’t be any effective anti-biotic you can use.
Like bacteria, different parts of the skin are colonised by different types of ‘’good;’’ fungi which are protective and serve a specific function. In the same vein, long term use of antifungal creams disrupts the skin ecosystem leading to resistance. Over time these creams are absorbed into the bloodstream and can lead to side effects like liver damage and heart failure.
Corticosteroids (steroids) creams
Where do I start from when it comes to the abuse of steroids? Not only does it have a massive effect on the integrity of your skin it also affects your bodies’ ability to produce its own natural hormones leading to massive withdrawal symptoms when stopped. The side effects of topical steroid use can be so severe that even with medical conditions it is restricted to 2 weeks of application.
Skin thinning: The use of steroids caused your skin to thin which makes you more susceptible to injuries that are unable to heal properly because of the effects of the steroid on your blood vessels.Steroid Acne
Steroid Acne: While steroids will make your skin look nice at the beginning long term use leads to steroid acne which is worse in black young adults below age 30.
Stretch marks: This is different from stretch marks from weight gain and pregnancy. The steroids affect the functioning of the skin making it difficult to maintain its elasticity leading to stretch marks.
Withdrawal syndrome: Long term steroid use leads to withdrawal syndrome. This withdrawal syndrome is characterized by swelling on the body area it was used, irritation on the face, genital area. This repeats itself on a cycle lasting a shorter duration until it resolves. However the longer you used the cream the longer this will last
These are some of the side effects of using a ‘’triple action cream ‘’ off label. They are not for long term use nor should they be used on large areas of your body. So continue to use them at your own risk.