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Study: Nearly 50% Skin 'Bleaching' Creams Contain High Levels of Toxic Mercury

PhenomenalMAG Staff  |  Skin Care

Skin lightening and whitening products (SLPs) are widely available. Mercury is still present in several of these goods.

In skin lightening products, mercury is not uncommon. The ingredient in these products inhibits the production of melanin, which gives skin its color. Dark patches and freckles can also be lightened.

But mercury is extremely harmful to humans.

The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) looked at 271 SLPs from more than 40 online stores, like Amazon, eBay, and Aliexpress and found that 129 of the products they tested had mercury levels above 1 ppm, which is the international limit set by the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The Zero Mercury Campaign's policy manager, Elena Lymberidi Settimo, said her organization has done this type of sampling three times. “It's concerning that these creams have been discovered to contain high levels of mercury in more places around the world, in all regions, and compared to our last survey,” she said.

The European Environmental Bureau published the study.

Mercury is dangerous

Consistent use of mercury-containing SLPs increases risk of bacterial and fungal infections, rashes, and skin discoloration. Mercury usage has also been related to eye, respiratory, and neurological system harm. Long-term, it's linked to renal problems.

As a result, those who use mercury-rich SLPs may unwittingly put other family members at risk. Home cleaning may be required after using SLPs to reduce mercury exposure.

Knowledge about SLPs containing mercury reduces the risk of mercury poisoning and its health effects.

Almost 50% do not meet legal standards

The researchers compiled a list of 80 SLPs from 17 nations, including the US, that they suspected contained "high mercury" (at least 1 ppm mercury). Then, they bought 271 samples and tested them.

25 of the 38 high mercury SLPs found in the 2019 study still had over 1 ppm mercury. During the 2018-2019 testing session, 18 SLPs tested below the permissible mercury limit.

Overall, 47.6% of the 271 samples analyzed had mercury levels over the permissible limit.

Useful skin discolouration remedies

Hydroquinone and licorice are safe skin lightening agents. Vitamins K, C, and Kojic Acid are also safe. Hydroquinone is no longer available over the counter, however, so do not purchase any product that a seller claims to be this chemical.

Many reasons exist for using SLPs. But the director of the Mercury Policy Project wondered why anyone would use them. As he told MNT, lighter skin is typically an indication of societies grappling with internalized racism and colorism.

According to the report, using SLPs may be linked to regional cultural difficulties. People who labor in the fields are regarded to be different from those who can afford to keep out of the sun.

Avoid unknown sources

Lymberidi Settimo advised people to avoid SLPs at all costs. The ZMWG stated it will soon release an online database of skincare components.

Dr. Lauren Taglia, Ph.D., a dermatologist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, recommended that you investigate trustworthy sources and see if the FDA had issued any warnings.

Hyperpigmentation should be treated by an American Board of Dermatology certified dermatologist. If you shop online, don't buy skin-bleaching products in US pharmacies. buying from unknown sources. These products can cause rashes, dry skin, and skin ulcers.

Dr. Taglia also warns against using too many skincare products at once.

Products and social media have made buying and using them easier. This leads to patients using too many products at once, especially active components. Simple is better, Dr. Taglia notes.

So, don't use too many active substances at once. Instead, alternate them. Before beginning a new skin care regimen, consult a dermatologist or other skin care expert.

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