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HSA warns against use of ‘Glow cream’ containing over 25,000 times permissable amount of mercury

SINGAPORE — The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has cautioned the public against using a cosmetic set - ‘Glow Glowing Skincare 4 in 1’ - after one of the products in the set was found to have more than 25,000 times the permissable limits of mercury.

The ‘Glow Glowing Skincare 4 in 1’ cosmetic set. Photo: HSA

The ‘Glow Glowing Skincare 4 in 1’ cosmetic set. Photo: HSA

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SINGAPORE — The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has cautioned the public against using a cosmetic set - ‘Glow Glowing Skincare 4 in 1’ - after one of the products in the set was found to have more than 25,000 times the permissable limits of mercury.

Two other prohibited and potent ingredients – tretinoin and hydroquinone – were also found in its ‘Night Glow’ cream, HSA said in press release on Tuesday (July 18).

The authority advised members of the public to stop using the entire set immediately “as a precautionary measure”. Investigations were launched following feedback from a consumer who used the product and became suspicious “when the whitening effect was too immediate”.

That high an amount of mercury can pose a “serious health hazard”, even leading to organ damage, as “chronic exposure to very high levels of mercury may cause toxic effects to the kidneys, digestive and nervous system, as it can be absorbed through the skin”, the HSA warned.

Regular application of the mercury-rich cream could also lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching.

The HSA also pointed out that the hydroquinone found was three times higher than the concentrations found in the products used for skin treatments, and the substance could result in changes in skin colour and hypersensitivity reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling and burning of skin.

Inappropriate use of tretinoin could also lead to redness and peeling of the skin.

Thus, HSA noted, hydroquinone and tretinoin “should only be used under medical supervision, as they may cause harmful effects if not used properly”.

The cosmetic set is marketed on websites like Lazada Malaysia, Bodyfume and Monalyssa Beauty for its skin brightening and whitening properties, and ability to reduce pimples. The HSA is working with online platforms to remove the products from their websites.

“Sellers have the responsibility to ensure that the cosmetic products they are selling are safe for use and comply with Singapore’s regulatory requirements for the sale and supply of cosmetic products, including the absence of prohibited substances,” said the HSA.

Anyone caught selling the affected creams can be prosecuted. If convicted, they can be jailed for up to three years and/or fined up to S$100,000.

As a consumer advisory, the HSA said members of the public should also buy cosmetic products from reliable and reputable sources, as the products may contain undeclared ingredients harmful to health.

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