Home > MEDICATION & YOU > Cosmetics > Are slimming creams cosmetics?

Are slimming creams cosmetics?


Achieving an ideal body shape is the desire of many men and women who are conscious with their appearance. As we know, healthy eating and regular exercise are the best way to obtain an attractive body shape that is also healthy and active. However, due to factors such as a busy lifestyle and the lack of discipline especially when it comes to healthy living, many prefer to turn to the easy way out such as the use of slimming creams to achieve their desired body shape.

Slimming cream advertisements are commonly found in print or electronic media such as magazines, newspapers, television and the internet and undoubtedly have influenced and convinced the public to try these products. These advertisements are made even more “effective” with the testimonies of certain individuals who claimed to have tested and experienced the effectiveness of these products.

What should you know about slimming creams?

First and foremost, slimming is synonym with the process of reducing body weight through the right diet and sufficient physical activity such as exercising. The slimming effect certainly cannot be achieved by applying an external product alone.

Despite that slimming creams are found to be frequently promoted or advertised by irresponsible sellers quoting baseless slimming effects such as getting rid of water retention, increasing metabolism rates, fat burning, flattening of the tummy, thighs, arms and many more desired effects. There are also slimming product advertisements that are aimed to confuse consumers by depicting effective slimming without the need to diet, exercise and effective weight reduction within a certain period of time.

Slimming creams are frequently misunderstood as cosmetic products. These products which are applied externally for the purpose of slimming are not allowed to be notified as cosmetics because the claims used are beyond the cosmetic scope.

What is the role of the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) in controlling the marketing of slimming creams?

Based on active post marketing surveillance activities conducted by NPRA it was found that there are marketing and promotional activities of notified cosmetics with claims that are beyond the cosmetic scope and contained prohibited information. In order to overcome these issues, NPRA has taken the following steps to control the irresponsible activities and have implemented preventive measures to protect the consumers from being misled:

  1. Cosmetic notification with the name, claim or function as a slimming product will be blocked or cancelled.
  2. A directive was issued in 2011 informing that any cosmetic product containing name, claim or function as a slimming product is not classified as cosmetics. Such products are not allowed to be notified with the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. This directive is published in the NPRA official website www.npra.gov.my.
  3. Under the surveillance program, NPRA are conducting the following activities:
  1. Sampling of cosmetic products suspected to be used for slimming
  2. Continuous monitoring of advertisements related to slimming products
  3. Notification of cosmetic product that contains claims that are beyond the cosmetic scope will be cancelled and relevant punitive actions will be taken towards the errant company.

Hence, consumers are advised to play a more proactive role by equipping themselves with the right information before buying a cosmetic product and should not use suspicious or dubious products. Consumers should not be easily deceived by advertisements that promote baseless claims. Additionally, consumers are encouraged to inform the NPRA if they find or know any notified cosmetics products for external use purported for slimming available in the local market or sold online to NPRA using Notified Cosmetic Complaint Form, available through the link:https://npra.gov.my/images/public/BORANG_ADUAN_KOSMETIK.pdf and e-mail to kosmetik@npra.gov.my for further action.

Last Reviewed : 22 August 2019
Writer/Translator : Jasmine Lee Yee Chen
Accreditor : Zuraida bt. Abdullah
Reviewer : Wan Mohaina bt. Wan Mohammad
  : Hanum Maisarah bt. Abdul Rahman