1 Mercury Used As A Skin Lightening Ingredient Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:58 pm
History of mercury use in skin lightening creams
The use of mercury in commercial skin bleaching creams and soaps goes back to the early 1900s. Before 1970, commercial bleaching creams would normally use ammoniated mercury to produce a lightening effect on the skin. These bleaching creams were aggressively marketed to black people in the US. In 1976, the use of mercury in cosmetic products was banned in the EU. The US banned the use of mercury in skin bleaching creams much later in 1990.
Mercury absorption into the body via the skin
Mercury and mercurial compounds can be absorbed into the body by inhalation of the vapors, ingestion, or skin contact. As a poison, the damaging effects of mercury are subtle and cumulative, building up over time. When absorbed, mercury has been discovered in blood, urine, bile, sweat, saliva, milk, and in pus on the surface of ulcers. It has also been discovered in the solids after death, in the brain, the bones, the cellular tissue, in serous membranes, in the parts close to the joints, and in the lungs and liver.
Mercury’s effects on the skin and overall health
Mercury can be extremely effective in lightening dark spots and stubborn pigmentation but has a high spontaneous remission rate (in a number of people, the original pigmentation returns once the treatment is stopped). The symptoms of mercury poisoning include emotional disturbances, unsteadiness, inflammation of the mouth and gums, general fatigue, memory loss, forgetfulness and headaches. It may also lead to kidney damage. Excess mercury in the system has been known to cause kidney problems (membranous nephropathy) Skin contact with mercury compounds can lead to irritation, including patches of inflammation and the appearance of tiny bumps close together. These bumps may burst and discharge matter, which later crusts over leading to soreness and discomfort.
Current skin lightening creams containing dangerous levels of mercury
While the use of mercury in skin lightening creams have been banned for some time now, they are still produced and sold in lightly-regulated markets. Below is a list of known skin lightening creams that contain dangerous levels of mercury (more than 1 ppm).
Here Is A List Of Mercury-laced Skin Lighteners:
- Hua Ma ABC – Hua Ma Day Cream and Hua Ma Night Cream
- Mui Lee Hiang – Cream for Acne & Blemishes
- Natural 99 yellow cream – day cream, Natural 99 white cream – night cream
- Rose Super White Whitening Essence
- Whitening Sunblock Cream – Day Cream
- EMEL SKIN CARE CO. No. 8
- Miss Key Whitening Cream / Crema Bianqueadora Miss Key
- Santa Cream / Crema Santa
- Mannig Beauty Cream / Manning Cream De Belleza
- Is 8% mercury by weight
Most skin lightening creams containing mercury are either white or yellow in color. Unscrupulous manufacturers may also easily change their product names and packaging to evade the authorities. The packaging for skin whitening creams containing mercury would also usually not list mercury as one of its ingredients, although sometimes calomel is listed. Calomel is mercurous chloride, a type of mercury.
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