Two illegal skin-whitening products found: Health Sciences Authority

Two cosmetic products found to contain banned substance mercury have been seized from wholesalers and retailers, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Monday.

The skin-whitening products - Melati UV-Whitening Vit. E Cream and Esther Bleaching Cream (A) and (B) - were sampled as part of HSA's post-market surveillance activities, and detected to contain the chemical.

The former had claimed to have effective whitening effects after just one application, while the latter, to whiten the skin and treat pimples. Both had not listed ingredients on the packaging or the accompanying leaflet.

The HSA advised members of the public to stop using and discard the affected products immediately. Mercury in skin lightening products may cause rashes, skin irritation and blotchiness of skin. Chronic exposure to high levels of mercury may affect the kidneys and nervous system as it can be absorbed from the skin.

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