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The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has recently put out several announcements regarding products that have found to contain “potent ingredients” that users should be wary of. What are “potent ingredients”, you may wonder. According to HSA, these are chemical ingredients found in cosmetic products that will cause you harm or even permanent damage through long-time use, or even just short-term exposure.

Beauty products containing “potent” ingredients

1. Sheesha Beauty Cream

Credit: daraz

Sheesha Beauty Cream is a skin whitening product that originates from Pakistan. It claims to help to fight acne, under-eye dark circles, as well as wrinkles and blemishes in your skin. If you’re thinking it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. This product has been flagged by HSA as it contains Mercury.

2. RODIS White Secret Lightening Body Cream/Lotion

Credit: rodistogo.net

The White Secret Lightening Lotion is a skin lightening lotion produced in Lome, Togo, and it claims to lighten skin in just five days. This product has also been reviewed to have a strong smell, and has limited information disclosed by the manufacturer. This product has been flagged for the Hydroquinone it contains, which is a fairly common potent ingredient.

3. Caro White Lightening Beauty Cream (500ml), Lightening Oil (50ml), Body Lotion (500ml)

These three Caro White Lightening products claim to help to lighten and brighten your skin, while also removing hyperpigmentation, acne, stretch marks, sunburn, age spots, and more. The three products have been flagged for containing Hydroquinone.

4. Carotone Lightening Body Lotion (550ml), Black Spot Corrector (30ml)

Credit: mamaT

Similarly, the Carotone Lightening Body Lotion and Carotone Black Spot Concealer been flagged for containing Hydroquinone. This ingredient has harmful side-effects, and should never be included in any cosmetic products.

5. Boo Jin Brightening Day & Night Cream

Credit: Boo jin Day & Night Cream on Facebook

The Boo Jin Brightening Day & Night Cream makes very tall claims, such as helping to reduce the number of blemishes, freckles, and dark spots you experience, and even firming up your pores and brightening your skin. However, this product, like many others on this list, contains Mercury.

6. Brilliant Skin Essentials Whitening Facial Cream

Credit: guauila.top

This cream is formulated to whiten your face, reverse any signs of ageing, maintain skin suppleness, and reduce wrinkles. However, you should take these claims with a pinch of salt. This Whitening Cream contains Tretinoin and was actually banned for sale in Malaysia due to this ingredient.

7. Deluxe Beauty – Ultra Lightening Cream Pearl Perfect Fairness

Credit: Shopee.my

This moisturiser claims to remove blemishes, and that it will help to reduce the appearance of dark spots while giving your radiant skin. However, the product contains Mercury.

8. Skin Revolution – Acne Clearing Solution

Credit: The Malaysian Reserve

This cosmetic product by Skin Revolution claims to help to balance your oils, shrink pores, rapidly remove acne while also making your skin delicate and white. However, this product contains very dangerous ingredients. This Acne Clearing Solution has Clindamycin and Metronidazole, which are both ingredients that should not be used without medical advice.

9. Thai Beauty Cream for Night Use

Credit: daraz

This Thai Beauty Cream actually contains good ingredients, such as vitamin B3 and Aloe Vera, which can help with repairing your skin, and has good reviews online. However, this product has been flagged for containing Mercury.

10. Skin Magical Rejuvenating Set 3 – Rejuvenating Cream No. 3

Credit: mycarekits.com

This product makes many anti-ageing and whitening claims, however, as amazing as it sounds, the product contains Hydroquinone, and is dangerous to use.

11. Deeja Cosmetic Yulai Cream

Credit: Deeja Cosmetic Hq on Facebook

This Yulai Cream is a product released by Deeja Cosmetic, a Malaysian brand, and is targeted at those who want to remove any signs of acne from their face, but the product unfortunately contains Hydroquinone.

12. Deeja Cosmetic Laila Cream

Credit: Deeja Cosmetic Hq on Facebook

From the same Malaysian company as the Yulai Cream, the Laila Cream claims to be able to remove blemishes from your face, but is instead dangerous as it contains Betamethasone 17-valerate and Mercury.

13. MUA MAKEUP ACADEMY Professional Trio Eyeshadow

Credit: nicolish

This trio of eyeshadow shades might look like something you often see in stores, and would place in your basket without much of a second thought, however, these shadows have been highlighted by HSA for containing Lead.

What do these potent ingredients do?

  • Mercury is a toxic substance and the HSA warns that using creams with mercury regularly could lead to rash, skin discolouration, and botching. Using products with high levels of mercury could even cause toxic effects to your kidneys, digestive, and nervous systems as the mercury will be absorbed through your skin. This could ultimately lead to organ damage.
  • Hydroquinone is a rather potent ingredient that is used in prescription medicines for skin conditions. This ingredient is actually prohibited from use in cosmetic products, as it could result in changes in skin colour and even cause hypersensitivity reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling, and burning of the skin.
  • Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections, and can cause hypersensitivity reactions such as skin rashes and urticaria. It can also cause severe skin reactions such as toxic epidermal necrolysis, severe stomach pains, changes in bowel habits, watery or bloody diarrhoea and renal dysfunction resulting in little or no urination.
  • Metronidazole can also cause similar hypersensitivity reactions, and can cause severe skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and even fungal super-infections may also occur with inappropriate long-term use of this ingredient.
  • Tretinoin is an ingredient used in prescription medicines, and long-term use of products containing it could lead to redness and peeling of the skin.
  • Betamethasone 17-valerate is a steroid. Long-term use of an oral steroid without any proper medical advice can lead to high blood pressure, cataracts, an increased risk of infections, and even Cushing’s syndrome, which causes your body to make too much of the hormone cortisol over time.
  • Lead is a toxic substance, and was used in makeup products centuries ago, and we know now to avoid it. Lead poisoning can occur as it builds up in the body over months or even years, causing long-term harm such as kidney damage and increased risk of high blood pressure.

These ingredients have harmful potential side-effects, as explained earlier, and should not ever be used without medical advice, let alone in a cosmetic product that is used daily.

Advisory: what should you do about these products

HSA has shared an advisory, urging consumers to avoid these products. Some of them may be available in local markets but most are available online and abroad.

Here are other tips you can take note of when purchasing beauty products from unconventional sources.

  • Exercise caution if you’re unfamiliar with the brand, especially when it comes to health and beauty products, even if friends and family have recommended them. Despite their well-intentions, it can be dangerous as you do not know where these products have come from, and they could contain potent ingredients that could potentially cause you harm.
  • Only make purchases online from websites with an established retail presence. Be extra careful when looking at products that promise quick and “miraculous” results, or products that have exaggerated claims such as being “100% safe”, “no side effects”, or being “scientifically proven”.
  • If it seems too good to be true, it usually is, so take such claims with a pinch of salt.
  • Consult a family doctor or dermatologist if you have pressing beauty concerns that you’d like to address.
  • If you have purchased any of the above-mentioned products, stop using them right away, and visit a doctor if you are feeling unwell.

You can click here to learn more about the dangers of buying products from suspicious sources.