Make manufacturers of skincare products prove their claims

It is good that local food manufacturers have to meet requirements set by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority to have approved health and nutrition food claims on their products (Guidelines to help firms meet healthy-food claims; June 30).

But what about skincare and cosmetic products?

A whopping US$3 billion (S$4.1 billion) worth of personal care and cosmetic products was imported into Singapore in 2015. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate averaging 5 per cent from 2016 to 2020.

The key trend that will drive this growth is the "premium-isation" of products.

With rising affluence and increased disposable income, Singaporean consumers are eager to try new personal care products.

But the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) takes action only when serious adverse effects happen.

It does not put up many hurdles when companies proclaim their products to be "all natural", "pure", "organic", "chemical-free" or able to "reduce wrinkles", and charge a premium price.

With rising affluence and increased disposable income, Singaporean consumers are eager to try new personal care products. But the Health Sciences Authority takes action only when serious adverse effects happen.

It is time for the HSA to do more to protect consumers, and mandate that all such claims be backed by scientific evidence and lab tests.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2017, with the headline 'Make manufacturers of skincare products prove their claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe