Molato Cream boosts skin lightening


. . . but pharmaceutical expert cautions on beauty products


MASERU – Dermatology (skin health) has been embroiled in a decades-long battle with the proliferation of whitening creams the world over, and Lesotho is no exception. Walking through the streets of Maseru, one is frequently confronted with the ubiquitous presence of skin-lightening, brightening, and bleaching creams. These are readily available without prescription or medical oversight.

A new contender has entered the market, promising a brightening effect through the use of organic ingredients. Life Solution Organics has introduced a new product, the Molato Cream, spearheaded by its owner and manufacturer, Ntikoe Mphatšiane. She claims that 80% of the ingredients in her product are derived from natural sources, while the remaining percentage consists of components aimed at exfoliating and rejuvenating the skin.

Mphatšiane remains guarded about divulging the specific ingredients used in her cream, stating: “Unfortunately, I consider the ingredients to be private therefore I am not at liberty to disclose them.” She underwent training provided by a local company named Leaps & Bounds, specialising in detergent and cosmetics manufacturing.

Mphatšiane says her product lacks any bleaching properties, emphasising its role in brightening the skin and reducing dark spots, a feat she attributes to the inclusion of turmeric in her cream. “We rigorously test every product in-house on ourselves before introducing it to the market,” she affirms. The inception of Leaps & Bounds, by its founder, Selloane Motsamai, dates back to October 2018. Motivated by a passion for cosmetics manufacturing, Motsamai embarked on establishing the company.

Leaps & Bounds provides in-house training, led by Motsamai and her scientist colleague, aimed at equipping participants with essential skills. “We meticulously source our ingredients from reputable international suppliers, ensuring they meet stringent quality standards,” Motsamai adds. Upon completion of the training sessions, participants receive certificates of completion and have access to the same reputable ingredient suppliers utilised by Leaps & Bounds.

Although the company collaborates with the National University of Lesotho (NUL) to conduct toxicity tests on their products, they lack official government accreditation due to the absence of standardised accreditation protocols in the country. Reflecting on her journey, Motsamai shares: “I delved into my passion right after high school, initially collaborating with Ntate Lephatšoe who was then producing aloe vera petroleum jelly. Subsequently, I sought further experience in South Africa.”

Due to positive consumer feedback, Leaps & Bounds has garnered invitations to host training sessions in countries like South Africa and Botswana, signalling early steps towards formalising their educational initiatives. “While we aspire to evolve into a formal institution, we acknowledge that this transformation will be a gradual process,” Motsamai also says.

Mphatšiane has acknowledged that her product has not undergone formal testing, despite being available to the public. A final-year pharmacy student at the NUL, Tšoanang Makanke, offers a contrasting perspective on the use of such products. According to Makanke, creams claiming to brighten or whiten the skin carry more risks than benefits. From a professional standpoint, altering the skin’s condition with creams entails inherent risks.

Makanke highlights two commonly used steroids in whitening creams, hydrocortisone and betamethasone. “The issue with many products claiming to be all-natural is that they contain these steroids, which are often undisclosed,” he says, underscoring the serious side effects of prolonged steroid use. “Prolonged use of steroids in these products can compromise the immune system and destroy melanin-producing skin cells, potentially leading to skin and blood cancers,” he cautions.

Additionally, the skin’s protective abilities diminish, some-times resulting in a burnt appearance and triggering allergic reactions due to undisclosed ingredients. Makanke advises consumers to seek expert medical guidance before using skin-altering products to understand potential side effects. Consulting a medical professional helps individuals make informed decisions about modifying their skin’s condition, including understanding proper usage and associated risks.

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