18 Cosmetic Products In Singapore Contain High Levels Of Mercury And Other Potent Ingredients, Says HSA

lead image

Dangerous chemicals in cosmetics: 18 cosmetic products that were tested by HSA were found to contain potent undeclared ingredients like mercury.

18 cosmetic products that were tested by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) were found to contain potent undeclared ingredients.

Some of these products were found with high levels of mercury, some exceeding the permissible limit by over 27,000 times!

Other potent ingredients found include hydroquinone and tretinoin, which could lead to serious adverse reactions.

Dangerous Chemicals In Cosmetics Found

These cosmetic products were sold at retail outlets and on various online platforms, and were for skin whitening and anti-acne. They also claimed to “improve complexion” and “even out skin tone”.

In an advisory issued on 20 April, 2018, HSA said that it has initiated the recall of these products.

The affected products are:

  • Balleza Skincare night cream (contains mercury)
  • Balleza Skincare treatment (contains hydroquinone)
  • Brilliant Skin Essentials rejuvenating cream, rejuvenating facial toner exfoliant toner, whitening cream (contain hydroquinone and tretinoin)
  • Brilliant Skin Essentials whitening facial toner (contains hydroquinone)
  • Droplets of Nature rejuvenating cream lift and correct (contains hydroquinone and tretinoin)
  • Droplets of Nature rejuvenating toner lift and correct (contains hydroquinone) 
  • Goree beauty cream with lycopene (contains mercury)
  • Karisma Cosmetic skincare day cream and night cream (contain mercury)
  • Karisma Cosmetic skincare treatment cream (contains hydroquinone and tretinoin)
  • Professional Skin Care Formula by Dr Alvin rejuvenating cream and rejuvenating toner (contain hydroquinone and tretinoin)
  • Skin Magical rejuvenating cream and facial toner No 1 (contain hydroquinone and tretinoin)
  • Speaks G Skin Essential brightening rejuvenating cream and rejuvenating toner (contain hydroquinone and tretinoin)

Advice to consumers

dangerous chemicals in cosmetics


HSA advises consumers to:

  • Stop using any of the 18 cosmetic products immediately and discard them.

They contain high levels of mercury or other undeclared potent ingredients that can lead to serious adverse reactions. See a doctor if you are experiencing adverse effects.   

  • Be cautious when purchasing cosmetic products online or from unfamiliar sources, even if they are recommended by friends or relatives.

It is advisable to buy such products from reliable and reputable sources such as registered pharmacies or established retail stores, and their respective e-commerce platforms.

  • Be wary of cosmetic products that promises quick and miraculous results or carry exaggerated claims such as skin whitening within a short period of time.

Such products may contain prescription medicines which should only be used under medical supervision, or contain dangerously high levels of toxic substances such as mercury that may harm you.

  • Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these cosmetic products may contact HSA’s Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866-3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: [email protected]

Those who supply illegal health products face up to 3 years’ jail and/or a fine of up to S$100,000.

Dangerous chemicals in cosmetics: How they harm you

Mercury is a toxic heavy metal and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products. Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching.

Long-term exposure to high levels of mercury in cosmetic products can cause serious health consequences, including damage to the kidneys, digestive and nervous systems.

The U.S FDA has this tip for checking if the product, especially an “anti-aging” or “skin lightening” product, has mercury, “Check the label. If the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury” are listed on the label, mercury’s in it—and you should stop using the product immediately.”

Hydroquinone and tretinoin are potent ingredients used in western prescription medicines for treatment of skin conditions.

These ingredients are prohibited in skincare cosmetic products and should only be used under strict medical supervision. Inappropriate use of hydroquinone could result in changes in skin colour and adverse skin reactions such as rashes, redness and burning of the skin. 

Hydroquinine is also said to have carcinogenic properties. If used for prolonged periods of time, hydroquinone can sometimes induce a condition known as “ochronosis”, which is a blue-black darkening in certain areas of the skin. 

Tretinoin, when used inappropriately, could lead to redness and peeling of skin.

Also READ: Excessive heavy metals found in products from Etude House and Aritaum Makeup

(Source: HSA)

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

Written by


app info
get app banner