SINGAPORE - The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued a warning about a brand of whitening cream which contains high levels of mercury and potent substances that can cause serious side effects.
The prolonged use of the illegal product, which claims to contain natural ingredients such as seaweed, may lead to serious adverse reactions, HSA said.
The Meiyong Super Whitening product, which promises both "extra whitening" effects and a "face lift", consists of three tubs of different coloured creams.
They contain high levels of mercury, which is banned in cosmetic products.
Mercury may cause rashes, skin irritation and blotchiness, and can be absorbed through the skin, resulting in numbness, dizziness and headaches.
Chronic exposure to high levels of mercury may also affect the kidneys.
The creams also contain undeclared ingredients which are potent chemicals used in prescription medicines.
Two of the ingredients, hydroquinone and tretinoin, can cause changes in skin colour, irritation and peeling of the skin.
The creams also have strong steroids which cause thinning of the skin, and can be absorbed into the body. These substances can cause Cushing's syndrome, obesity and high blood pressure when used extensively.
Members of the public who have bought the product are advised to stop using it immediately and discard the creams.
Those experiencing side effects or who are concerned about their health after using the product should see a doctor.
Preliminary investigation showed that consumers in Singapore may have bought the product from local retail outlets or from online platforms, HSA said.
HSA warned consumers to be very cautious when purchasing and using cosmetics products that promise miraculous effects like "super whitening".
Visit www.healthdangers.sg to learn more about the dangers of buying illegal health products from dubious sources.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of the illegal product may call 6866-3485 during office hours or email: email@example.com.