As a culture, we are obsessed with ‘white’ skin. To be ‘fair skinned’ is considered beautiful, desirable and essential. There is no shortage of fairness and whitening creams in the market, but do read this article before you buy skin whitening cream in Singapore.
Warning against this skin whitening cream in Singapore
According to The Straits Times, The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in Singapore has issued a stern warning against using the Royal Expert Whitening Cream. Apparently, this cream contains more than 3,000 times the allowed amount of mercury!
HSA was first alerted to this hazard by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), which found mercury content of 3,604 µg/g in the cream while testing. It then followed up with further testing, and found similar high levels of mercury in all the samples.
Mercury is a toxic substance and is banned in cosmetic products. However, Case clarifies that trace levels of mercury of less than 1µg/g is allowed, as mercury is an environment contaminant.
This extremely high level of mercury found in Royal Expert Whitening Cream is cause for concern. According to Channel NewsAsia, HSA says, “Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching. Chronic exposure to high levels of mercury in cosmetic products may also affect the kidneys and nervous system as it can be absorbed through the skin.”
HSA has stressed that those who have bought this product must stop using it immediately and throw it away. They should also see a doctor immediately if they are experiencing any adverse effects from its use.
This cream was being sold online, including on Lazada and Qoo10, and claims to have skin whitening and anti-wrinkle effects.
HSA also warns that sellers should stop selling this cream immediately, or risk being punished. The web administrators of online platforms have also been instructed to remove all listings of the product from their websites. According to Today, Lazada and Qoo10 have already taken down listings of the product.
Meanwhile, the distributor of the Royal Expert Whitening Cream, Ortus Expert White (OEW) Group, issued a press statement that they are investigating the matter, “We take this matter seriously … The outcome of the inquiry will be communicated once the process has run its course.” They also suggested that online platforms selling this cream may not be authorised dealers, and the products sold might be fake.
Dangers of using skin whitening creams
Skin whitening or skin lightening creams can be used to treat a range of problems including dark spots, acne scarring, freckles and melasma but care should be taken when choosing a product. Always buy them from reliable and reputable sources. Online sources may sell poor quality and falsely labelled health products and cosmetics, which can cause severe health problems.
You will be shocked to know that many skin whitening products are a dangerous cocktail of compounds like hydroquinine, mercury and steroids. It is best to consult a doctor or skin specialist before using a skin whitening product for these reasons:
- Mercury poisoning: According to the WHO, mercury poisoning can cause the following:
- Kidney damage
- Skin rashes
- Skin discolouration and scarring
- Reduction in skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections
- Anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy (damage of peripheral nerves)
- Nephrotic syndrome (a condition marked by high levels of protein in urine)
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.”
- Steroids: Many skin whitening creams can contain high-dose steroids!
Unmonitored use of high-dose steroids can cause thinning and capillary effect on the skin, severe acne and stretch marks. The high doses of steroids found in illegal skin whitening creams can also interfere with the body’s hormone levels. Long-term use of a whitening cream with topical steroids may also lead to hypertension and elevated blood sugar.
- Hydroquinine : Hydroquinine is a toxic chemical but is used in many skin lightening creams and lotions because it is an effective bleaching agent.
Hydroquinine is said to have carcinogenic properties, and apparently increases the risk of complications such as thyroid disorders, liver disease and adrenal dysfunction. In fact its use has already been banned in Europe, Japan, and Australia, and products containing more than 4 % hydroquinone are considered especially unsafe.
Common side effects reported from the use of hydroquinine creams include skin rashes, burning skin irritation, excessive redness and a dryness or cracking of the skin. 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.
Also READ: Tips to take care of baby’s eczema
(Source: The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, Today)
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