Khabar Khair (Only Good News) Fatma Rashad

Cosmetic mixtures have spread in the Yemeni markets, most of which are manufactured and locally compounded, some of which were warned by doctors, and some doctors participated in its manufacture to enter the competition market with this trade that generates money, especially since women accept cosmetic mixtures in great demand.

Sandra, owner of the whitening mixtures project, says, “I started my project a year and a half ago and from scratch, and I found a great demand on the products and it was greater than my expectations”.

Sandra stresses that the competition between merchants and specialized doctors in skin problems who give women ointments that are manufactured in private laboratories depends on the honesty of the doctor and the merchant.

And Sandra adds, “There are doctors who warn against mixtures, because this doctor works in his own laboratories with mixtures that he benefits from in his clinic and pharmacy, which means that the issue is a matter of ratios and profits, as well as merchants, each according to her honesty. There are unfortunately people who are not trusted in this field, they do not care if they prepare substances that harm the skin and cause side effects. On the other hand, there are merchants who work on the principle of honesty, and then women deal with them with confidence, and they achieve a well-known brand name in the market”.

Natural Beauty Products

Hairdresser Nora Haidara from Aden Governorate advises women to use the well-known natural bleaching mixtures that were passed on from the grandmothers.

Nora says, “Our mothers and grandmothers used to use what is natural, such as turmeric, cider, starch, and natural things that we prepare with our own hands, away from cream mixtures that bring only negative results in the long term”.

On her part, Shamaa (pharmaceutical assistant) says, “I have a special cosmetic product called Lulu”.

 She added, “I started my project a year ago and it was confined to family and acquaintances, and I distributed the product in the market four months ago”.

Shamaa said, “I am a pharmacist, and I understand medicines and their harms, and I advise the customer what suits him and solve his problem, whether from my product or from another product, and thank God I have earned the trust of many women”.

Shamaa confirms that the materials she uses are gentle and safe and there is no harm in them, noting that there is a great demand for mixtures, especially those that treat skin problems more than they are whitening creams or mixtures.

And about the financial return that accrues to her, Shamaa says, “The material return is small, and as they say (better be meals many than one too merry). In addition, Shamaa has other products that she composed, which are "LuLu Cream" products to lighten the face, which consists of aloe vera gel, vitamin C serum, tea tree serum, medicated lightening cream, and 80% moisturizing cream that contains the last layer of cow's milk, shea butter and medicated oils.

Queen of Natural Mixtures

Ruba Al-Haddar is the owner of the most famous natural mixtures in Aden Governorate, and her passion led her to become what she is today.  Ruba was keen to buy books of mixtures and herbal medicine, and this is what made her start preparing her own mixtures. She did not think that her project would come to light, but her parents’ motivation made her home project at the top of similar projects.

Ruba Al-Haddar says that the most prominent difficulties that she faces in her project are concentrated in the rise of the price of the dollar and the currency difference because most of the raw materials that she uses are not found in Yemen, so she has to bring them from abroad.

She also says, “My products are considered safe and there are no harms because they are natural and do not contain any chemicals. They are safe even for nursing mothers, and when I stop using them, they do not negatively affect the skin, unlike some mixtures that cause this”.

Doctors warn about homemade cosmetics

“Bin Muammar”, for distributing cosmetics in Yemen, does not like to deal with these mixtures, although many of those who deal with him demand that they be available.

Naglaa Hasan (Doctor in pharmacy) warned against the bleaching mixtures that are used in Aden.

Dr. Naglaa said, “A lot of local cosmetics have dire results over time, and most of the visitors of dermatologist clinics are women and girls in prime age, for whom skin-lightening creams have caused obvious damage”.

Naglaa confirmed that no cream that is said to be natural is free of these substances, and most creams and mixtures on the market contain corticosteroids and hydroquinone.

She adds, “The color of the skin is determined by the concentration of three main pigments, which are melanin, hemoglobin, and carotene. These pigments are found in the skin’s interior and gather to produce a pigment on the surface of the vital tissue, including the pigment of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Any defect in the concentration of these substances may lead to a different change in the color of the skin and other visible tissues, and contribute to the diagnosis of a skin disease or problem, and bleaching substances work to inhibit the work of enzymes, and cause defects and problems other than early wrinkles and abnormalities of skin cells, and after a period of saturation of the skin by bleaching materials, the skin dead”.

With or Against Mixtures

Oumaima Qassem, who explained the reasons for her obsession with natural mixtures, said, “I love to use mixtures, especially bleaching mixtures, natural oils and soap, although I had previously avoided them, but after trying them, I found satisfactory results, which encouraged me to continue using them”.

Umm Aboudi Al-Sami’i disagrees with her, by saying, “I am not one who cares about mixtures to the point of becoming attached to them, although I do not lie to you, I used them for a while and found impressive results, but I did not return to them because I do not trust the materials that go into their manufacture, and I know a friend who developed skin cancer as a result of use bleaching mixtures”.

Problems facing cosmetic mix makers

Owners of home businesses specializing in the sale of beauty mixtures face problems in their work, most notably doubting their products, which are mostly based on nature. They also do not find the raw materials with which to prepare their cosmetic mixtures, forcing them to import them from abroad and in hard currency, and this is reflected in the price of the main product, which must be competitive with the imported products. Although some of these creams are harmful, according to doctors’ warnings, they have a competitor in the cosmetic market in Yemen, especially in the markets of Aden.

It is possible to take advantage of these easy products and turn them into a commercial enterprise that owns a brand, if the Quality Control organization checks them and ensures that they are free of chemicals that cause skin diseases.

The owners of these projects should also be given attention and support, as they represent major sources of income for hundreds of families.

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Tamara Boulos

Tamara Boulos

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