SINGAPORE - It promised to give users "white, fluffy, glowing skin" and claimed to be made from "100 per cent natural ingredients", but in fact contained mercury levels that were more than 40,000 times over the permissible limits.
Deeja Cosmetic Wrinkle cream is one of five cosmetic creams which the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued an alert about on Thursday (Jan 31).
The four other creams HSA has advised consumers not to purchase or use are Deeja Cosmetic Sun cream, Deeja Cosmetic Dream cream, RDL Babyface Whitening Cream Night Cream 5 in 1 and RDL Face Off Fade-Out Cream Day Cream 5 in 1.
All five creams were tested and found to contain undeclared potent ingredients such as hydroquinone, a skin lightening agent, and mercury, a toxic metal.
HSA warned that long-term exposure to such high amounts of mercury can cause serious health risks, including damage to the kidneys, digestive and nervous systems.
Deeja Cosmetic Dream cream was found to contain hydroquinone, a potent ingredient prohibited in over-the-counter skincare cosmetic products.
HSA said that hydroquinone is a prescription-only medicine and should be used only under medical supervision. Inappropriate use of the chemical could result in rashes, skin redness, tingling and burning of skin.
The three Deeja cosmetic creams, which falsely claimed to be "made and specially formulated from 100 per cent natural ingredients", are part of the "Deeja Cosmetic" box set and sold on local online platforms.
The RDL creams were imported by Arklife Distributors and sold in retail outlets. HSA has since directed Arklife Distributors to stop the sale of these creams and to recall the affected products from retail outlets.
The RDL creams were also sold on online platforms by various other sellers.
HSA said it has told administrators of online platforms which were selling the Deeja and RDL creams to remove the Web listings of all the affected products.
HSA has advised consumers who are using the five products to stop doing so immediately, and consult a doctor if they experience adverse effects.
Consumers should also be wary of health products that promise or deliver quick and miraculous effects or carry exaggerated claims, as they may contain prohibited harmful ingredients, said HSA.
Finally, consumers should exercise caution when purchasing health products online, especially from unfamiliar websites.
Sellers and suppliers must also stop selling these products immediately, as they are illegal products which contain medicinal or prohibited substances. Anyone found guilty can be jailed for up to three years, fined up to $100,000, or both.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch on 6866-3485 during office hours on weekdays, or email email@example.com
Those who wish to learn more about the risks associated with buying health products online can view a video that HSA has produced on the issue.