SINGAPORE - A skincare set being sold online has been found to contain high levels of mercury and other prohibited ingredients that can lead to serious health consequences.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is alerting members of the public to not buy or use the "Tati Skin Care 5 in 1" set.
This skincare set contains a day cream, a night cream, a treatment cream, sunblock and cleanser.
HSA said the night cream contains "very high levels of mercury", exceeding the permissible limits by more than 20,000 times, while the treatment cream has "prohibited and potent ingredients, tretinoin and hydroquinone".
Said the HSA in a press statement on Wednesday (June7): "Consumers who have purchased or are using this product are advised to stop using and discard them immediately as their use can lead to serious health consequences."
The product was sold online and marketed as "100% free of harmful chemicals" and with claims of "100% No Mercury Guarantee" on the packaging.
Mercury is a toxic substance and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products. Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching. Chronic exposure to very high levels of mercury in cosmetic products may also cause toxic effects to the kidneys, digestive and nervous system leading to organ damage as it can be absorbed through the skin.
Hydroquinone and tretinoin are potent ingredients that are used in Western prescription medicines for the treatment of skin conditions. These ingredients are prohibited in skincare cosmetic products and should only be used under medical supervision as they may cause harmful effects if not used properly.
The inappropriate use of hydroquinone could result in changes in skin colour and hypersensitivity reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling and burning of skin. Inappropriate use of tretinoin could lead to redness and peeling of the skin.
Associate Professor Chan Cheng Leng, group director of the health products regulation group at the HSA, said HSA had found more than 200 online sellers involved in the illegal sale of adulterated cosmetic products in the recent two months.
"This shows the widespread circulation of these products. Many of these sellers hide under the anonymity of the Internet. Consumers need to be wary about purchasing cosmetic products with exaggerated claims and which promise fast results, as they may contain ingredients harmful to health," he added.
The authority said it will take action against anyone selling the "Tati Skin Care 5 in 1" set.
Anyone who supplies illegal health products is liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to $100,000.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of "Tati Skin Care 5 in 1" or other illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch on 6866-3485 during office hours on weekdays or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org