Skin-lightening creams with toxins seized by Tower Hamlets trading standards

Skin product seized by Tower Hamlets Council trading standards

Skin product seized by Tower Hamlets Council trading standards - Credit: TH trading standards

Imported skin creams said to have “harmful ingredients” which could cause permanent health damage have been seized by trading standards officials in London’s East End.

Three products used to lighten skin that were tested by Tower Hamlets council were found to contain high levels hydroquinone and mercury—banned by law as they can cause permanent skin damage.

The products were RDL Hydroquinone Tretinion Babyface Solution No 2 and No 3 and Fazia beauty cream bleach and freckle, the Town Hall confirmed.

“Selling these products represents a serious breach of the law,” Tower Hamlets cabinet member Shiria Khatun said. “It could lead to disastrous consequences.

“It is valuable when people report to us anything that looks suspicious.”


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Hydroquinone can cause liver and skin damage and also inhibits production of the pigment melanin which gives skin its colour.

Melanin is vital to protect against UV radiation, so the body would over-compensate by producing more—which increases the risk of skin cancer.

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Mercury is a toxic element which accumulates in the body and damages the kidneys, liver and brain, causing potentially fatal health problems.

The products do not comply with the 2013 Cosmetic Products Enforcement regulations, so the council is carrying out further inspections. Enforcement action will be taken if shops do not comply with the law, Trading Standards warn.

The council is advising members of the public who may have bought these creams to stop using them immediately and consult their doctor if concerned about any skin damage or health problems.

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