For various reasons, many skin care manufacturers started to incorporate mercury in their product. Especially in their skin whitening creams and serums.
Whatever your complexion and your skin lightening goals. It’s crucial to make sure that your decision on using certain products safe for your skin and not damaging.
Reasoning why some companies use Mercury:
Surprisingly, Mercury was not recently introduced in the skin care field. It has been used in cosmetics for centuries. This liquid metal was popular in the 19th century among European women to remove blemishes and freckles.
The trouble with Mercury
The impact of this liquid metal has potential deadly health consequences. And it doesn’t only harm the user but whoever is the vicinity of the user.
Once your family breathe those vapours released from mercury they are at risk. It might go even to your kids touching your washcloths or towels that are contaminated with mercury. Mercury’s nature of contamination is unbelievably dangerous, says Arthur Simone, M.D., a senior medical advisor at FDA.
Some people – including pregnant women, nursing babies and young children – are especially vulnerable to mercury toxicity, he adds.
Signs and Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning
- changes in vision or hearing
- memory problems
- numbness and tingling in hands, feet or around mouth
Thus, FDA ban took place
In 1973 the Food and Drug Administration banned cosmetics with more than a trace amount of the metal: 1 part per million (ppm).
OTC skin lightening creams (are really not safe)
We normally trust products that are on OTC counters especially in pharmacies or other reputable health shops.
Surprisingly, there has been small amount of creams infiltrated the market and it does contain minor amounts of mercury.
There was an investigation conducted by Chicago Tribune; to verify how safe are those OTC whitening creams.
They tested 50 random skin lightening creams on the market and was sent to certified labs.
The findings were 6 out of 50 skin lightening cream contained amounts of mercury that was supposed to be banned by federal law.
What’s more serious, 5 of those 6, contains levels greater than 6,000 parts per million – an amount capable of causing kidney damage over time.
How those 6 Mercury contaminated lightening creams slipped in the market?
According to Ira Allen, FDA Spokesman, said that, there are around 500 inspectors to review imported products.
Thus, limitation of human resources among FDA inspectors can make it very difficult to check all food, drug and cosmetic products. “It is likely that things get past us,” he said.
Sales of lightening products in the U.S. are expected to increase nearly 18 percent by 2015, reaching $76 million annually, according to market researcher Global Industry Analysts.
How to avoid Mercury poisoning from skin whitening products?
It can be tricky to identify a product contains mercury without going with the process of lab checking. The substance doesn’t have smell, colour or taste. However, there are certain measures as a user you can take to stay away from lightening products that might have this.
- Reading the ingredients is vital. Look if there is mercury mentioned and if not look for any of these synonyms; mercuric, calomel, mercurous chloride, and mercurio.
- Stay away from online products promoted on forums, social media and influencers. Don’t follow marketing hypes.
- Try to check country of origin, if not mentioned simply don’t buy.
- Look for any kind of certification label from an accredited facility.
What if you managed to know the product contained Mercury
-First step, wash your hands thoroughly and stop using the product straightaway.
-Second step, before discarding the product please report to the FDA report page
-Third step, seal the product in a plastic bag before throwing it out.
The good news is, you can still bleach your skin at home with the right product. There is a current trend among new manufactures like Amaira bleach serum, endorsing 100% natural ingredients. Make sure you read ingredients and do your research.