Dermatologists call for ban on pigmentation-removal pens

Dermatologists are calling for a ban on selling at-home freckle and pigmentation-removal devices.

Dr Bav Shergill, president of the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group – closely aligned to the British Association of Dermatologists – has stressed the dangers of freckle-removing pens, which are available online for as cheap as £10.99.

These devices use thermal energy or electric currents and are advertised as being able to remove pigmentation marks such as freckles, moles and skin tags, although they cannot detect if the marks could be potentially cancerous.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Dr Shergill said consumers using these devices could trigger a scar or reaction on top of the skin which could cover the pigment and make a melanoma difficult to recognise. As well as causing potential burns or further pigmentation, the undetected melanoma could also spread as the cancerous cells remain under the skin if using these devices. 

The group believes the surge in video calls during lockdown has made people more conscious of their skin imperfections, leading to a greater interest and increase in sales of the devices.

“I think we have never had so much time to look at ourselves as we have at the moment,' said Dr Shergill. “And people who ordinarily wouldn't have more than a slight glance at themselves in the mirror before they left the house are now faced with having to look at themselves in a little box on the side of the screen for hours on end.” 

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