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There is no law in Sri Lanka to regulate cosmetic products and thus authorities are unable to take action against salons and beauty parlors that use unregistered products. “There are a lot of unregistered cosmetic products like whitening creams and henna in the market and this means that these unregistered products are also being used in salons,” said DR Wickramasekara Bandara, Secretary of Food and Drugs Inspectors’ Association.

According to Bandara, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority Act, No. 5 of 2015 repealed the Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Act, No 27 of 1980 under which the Health Ministry could take action against salons using unregistered cosmetic products or operated without a license. However, now the authorities can’t take action against anyone in a situation where, for instance, a consumer is harmed or killed due to the cosmetic products and possible allergies.

Bandara suggested that this was either due to the negligence of the law-makers or because of plans to introduce a new ordinance that covered the area of cosmetic products. However, he also suggested that a simple amendment to the 2015 Act saying the 1980 Act is valid for cosmetic products can rectify the situation.

While food and drug inspectors continue to hold raids and awareness programs, it is only the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) that can take any kind of action against salons and beauty parlors. However, this too is regarding labeling and expiration dates of products and not unregistered products that are currently in use in the country.