Mercury is a dangerous skin lightening ingredient

Some skin lightening ingredients work extremely well in the short-term, but are dangerous to our well-being and the long-term health of our skin. Mercury is one of them.

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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 (symptoms of mercury poisoning / excessive mercury)

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.

Essential Reading: What to do if you’ve been poisoned by mercury

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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 or one part per million).

The list of creams below are just the ones that I’ve found, so it’s not an inclusive list.

I update this list regularly. If you know of a cream that has tested positive for mercury, let me know in the comments section below.

      • Yin Ni Whitener Repair Cream (link to article)
      • Santen cosmetic cream (link to article)
      • LiLiki Whitening Day Cream / Cream 911  (link to article)
      • Erna Whitening Cream (link to article)
      • Aroma Magic Fairy Lotion (link to article)
      • Olay Natural White (made by Procter and Gamble India, link to article)
      • Ponds White Beauty (made by Hindustan Unilever, link to article)
      • Monsepa Bleaching Express Peeling (link to article)
      • Top Shirley Nourishing Cream (link to article)
      • LMSER Cream
      • Angela Placenta Whitening Cream (Tender Skin & Whitening)
      • Youngrace Age Defying Essence (link to article)
      • Angel Placenta Whitening Cream (link to article)
      • Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream
      • Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream Plus Complex Vitamin C & E
      • LMSER Whitening Cream
      • Care Skin Strong Whitening and Spot Removing pack
      • Huayuenong 12 Days Whitening and Speckle Removing set
      • White Advance Hydroxytyrosol L-Glutathione Whitening and Antiaging Cream
      • Zhjren 7-Day beauty elegant moisturizing and whitening day cream
      • Zhjren Whitening Ruddy Combination Suit
      • White Magnolia Intensive Repair Essence Powerful Spot Remover
      • Roopamrit (link to article)
      • Seven Herbal Ubtan (link to UK product recalls + alternative pdf download, OAS alert with pictureslink to article)
      • Melati UV – Whitening Vit. E Cream (link to article with photos)
      • Esther Bleaching Cream (A) and (B) (link to article with photos)
      • Gakadi freckle removing cream
      • Natural Orange Whitening and Anti-Aging Package
      • Hengxueqian Whitening Set
      • Cellnex Anti-Sensitive Essence Treatment (contains betamethasone and mercury; link to article)
      • SF Beauty Night Cream (Facial) and SF Beauty Day Cream (Facial) (contains betamethasone and mercury)
      • Wiana Whitening Beauty Cream (source for this and the next 11 creams: Buckinghamshire County Council — opens a pdf with photos of the creams and their mercury levels / alternate link)
      • Pai Mei whitening spot cream (30,167 ppm of mercury! link to article 1 / 2)
      • Caike Red Ginseng (link to article)
      • Goree Whitening Cream
      • Faiza Beauty Cream / Faiza No 1 Beauty Cream
      • Golden Pearl Beauty Cream
      • Face Fresh
      • Raj Beauty Cream
      • Seven Herbal Ubtan
      • Formula AA Arched Pearl Crème
      • Fair and Lovely Forever Glow / Fair and Lovely Anti Marks Cream
      • Gipsey Amazing Cream
      • Olivia Crème for Unwanted Hair
      • Seven Herbal Wrinkle de Crease
      • Brite Face Cream (link to article)
      • Due Whitening Cream
      • Wiana Whitening Cream
      • Feique Whitening Anti-Freckle Cream (link to article)
      • Feique Golden Aloe Whitening Anti-Scar, Anti-Freckle Set
      • Feique Green Tea Vital Whitening Freckle Removing Cream
      • Bai Li Tou Hong (has 46,700 ppm of mercury!)
      • Maidaifu Herbal Moisturizing and Whitening Cream (60,800 ppm of mercury!)
      • Green Cucumber and Ginseng 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Set
      • Loreial Paris Anti-Freckle Cream
      • Yu Dan Tang / Yudantang Ginseng and Ganoderma Lucidum 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Sun Block Cream
      • Yu Dan Tang / Yudantang Ginseng and Green Cucumber 10 Days Whitening Speckles Removed Essence
      • Yu Dan Tang / Yudantang 10 Specific Eliminating Freckle Spot  and Double Whitening Sun Block Cream
      • Yu Dan Tang / Yudantang Aloe Pearl 10-Day Whitening Speckles Removed Essence Cream
      • Yu Dan Tang / Yudantang 10 Days Sheep Essence & Ginseng
      • Aichun Beauty Green Tea Whitening Speckle Removing Series (3-in-1)
      • Aichun Beauty Strongly Whitening Freckle Series (3-in-1)
      • Aichun Beauty Pawpaw Whitening and Freckle Remover Series (3-in-1)
      • Aichun Beauty Aloe Vera Whitening and Speckle Removing Series
      • Yuchun Hanfang (link to article)
      • Tongrentang Yisheng Whitening and Freckle Removal Cream (link to article)
      • Hua Ma ABC – Hua Ma Day Cream and Hua Ma Night Cream (link to article)
      • Jiaoli (link with more information and pictures and 2007 FDA import alert on Jiaoli from www.PetitpriZes.com)
        • Other names
          • Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set Cream
          • Jiaoli Miraculous Cream
          • Jiao Li 10-Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set
          • Jiaoli Huichunsu Whitening Speckles Removal Cream
          • Jiaoli Huichunsu Special Cut Genuine Cream
          • Xin Jiao Li 7-Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream
          • Jiaoli Rejuvenation Essence 10 days speckle removing
          • Jiaoli Speckle Dispelling and Whitening Cream
          • Jiaoli Huichunsu Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream
        • Similar products with possibly different packaging (appears to be from the same company, Harbin Gelidai Jiaobao Cosmetics)
          • Jiao Liang Miraculous Cream
          • Xin Jiao Liang 7-Days Miracle Package for Spots Refining
          • Jiao Mei Miraculous Cream
          • Jiao Yan Specific Miraculous Cream
          • Jiao Li Extra Pearl Facial Cream
      • Mui Lee Hiang – Cream for Acne & Blemishes (link with picture)
      • Natural 99 yellow cream – day cream, Natural 99 white cream – night cream (link with pictures)
      • Rose Super White Whitening Essence (link with picture)
      • Whitening Sunblock Cream – Day Cream (link with picture)
      • EMEL SKIN CARE CO. No. 8 (link with picture)
      • Dermaline (link to 2009 FDA Import Alert for creams containing mercury)
      • Miss Key Whitening Cream / Crema Bianqueadora Miss Key (link to 2009 FDA Import Alert for creams containing mercury)
      • Santa Cream / Crema Santa (link to 2009 FDA Import Alert for creams containing mercury)
      • Mannig Beauty Cream / Manning Cream De Belleza
        • 8% mercury by weight
      • Bioactive Facial Enlightening Activator
      • Day and Night UV Expert
      • Jin Sheng Mei (link with picture)
      • Ginseng (Extra Pearl Cream)
      • Orrefor (Extra Pearl Cream)
      • Pally (Nourishing Cream)
      • Bivong
      • Butae (Pearl Cream)
      • Silvana cream
      • Ly-NA (Nourish face cream)
      • ALFA (Extra Pearl cream)
      • Yin Fong (Extra Pearl cream)
      • Diana Cream
      • Civic (Nourishing cream)
      • Ideal cream
      • Melanax
      • Cing-Cing (Roon Petch)
      • Daifu (Herbal formula/pearl cream)
      • Cream Minerva
      • Stillmann’s Freckle Cream
      • Fasco Herbal Cream
      • TOP-GEL MCA Cream
      • Shabright Clear and Bright Skin Formula
      • LuLanJina (white and yellow cream)
      • Ling Ji Su (white and yellow cream)
      • St. Dalfour Cream
      • Miss Beauty Magic Cream
        • Has 28,600 ppm of mercury!
      • JJJ Magic Spots Removing Cream
      • Flower Woman 7-Day Whitening and Spot and Night Set Cream
      • Sara Glutathione Sheep Placenta Whitening and Anti-Spot Cream
      • Beauty Girl Natural Olive and Sheep Essence 10-Day Double Whitening Cream
        • Other products from the same company Yudantang International, Taiwan (also contains mercury)
          • Beauty Girl Papaya & Hawthorne Essence
          • Beauty Girl Ginseng & Green Cucumber
          • Beauty Girl Essence Aloe Pearl
          • Beauty Girl Double White SPF17AP Whitening Cream
          • Beauty Girl Egg White and Tomato 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Cream
      • Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream (violet and old rose packaging)
      • Aichun Beauty Green Tea Whitening Speckle Removing Series Cream
      • Aichun Beauty Whitening Freckle Day and Night Cream
      • Shengli Day & Night Cream
      • Doctor Bai Skin Revitalizing Skin Brightening
      • Qiang Li Zeng Bai Qu Ban Wang whitening cream
      • S’zitang 7-Day Specific Whitening and Spot AB Set Cream
      • S’zitang Cream
      • S’zitang 10 Days Eliminating Freckle Day and Night Set
      • S’zitang 7 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set
      • Yoko Gentleman Cream for men
      • Jonathan clearing facial spots 12-day cream
      • Gemli Glutathione Hydrolyzed Collagen whitening & anti-aging
      • Gemli Glutathione Grapeseed Extract Whitening and Anti-Aging
      • Gemli Freckles Cream
      • Gemli Beauty Series Freckles Cream Plus Placenta Extract
      • Qian Mei – white cream and yellow cream
      • Cream Aghader
      • Savon pour L’acné Diana soap
      • Lemon Herbal Whiting Cream
        • 33,000 ppm of mercury!
      • Sensual Whitening Cream (link to article
      • Crema Aguamary face cream and eye cream
      • Crema Antiedad y Desmanchadora
        • Nearly identical to “Crema Aguamary” above. Has 130,000 times the FDA limit for mercury.
        • Article with news video
      • Long Dian Tu Glutathione Pearl Natural Whitening Essence Cream
      • Feique Rose Refining Nourishing Set Cream
      • Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Antifreckle Set
      • Lianglibai Qingbanxuejizuhetaozhuang Cream
      • Pretty Model Whitening and Freckle Removing Cream
      • Women of Flower Whitening and Speckle Removing AB Series Cream
      • Lamb Placenta Whitening and Anti-Aging Cream
      • Forever Beauty 10-Day Special Cream
      • New Baijiasi Whitening Night Cream

Published reports of mercury found in skin creams

Many government websites also contain lists of banned cosmetics and soaps that contain mercury. For example, The Kenya Bureau of Standards has a list of banned products containing mercury (see pdf). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) also has a list of skin creams that exceeded the FDA limit for mercury upon testing.

In 2004, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted an investigation and had the mercury content of several store-bought skin-lightening products analysed (see page 3 of this pdf for the product list and their mercury content).

In May 2010, the Chicago Tribune had 50 skin-lightening creams tested at a lab (most of the creams were bought in stores, a few were ordered online). Six were found to contain illegal amounts of mercury. You can check the Chicago Tribune’s findings in this detailed list containing the names of these creams and the levels of mercury they contained (download pdf).

In August 2011, Philippine watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition conducted a test of 12 brands of whitening creams. 11 tested positive for high levels of mercury (download pdf). Later in October 2011, the same group screened 25 brands and found that 19 contained 1,395 ppm to 52,100 ppm of mercury (none listed mercury as an ingredient).

Appearance and packaging

Most skin lightening creams containing mercury are either white or yellow in color.

Unscrupulous manufacturers can 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).

Unlabeled or homemade products are also suspect

In one case, skin lightening creams sold in white plastic jars with no labels were found to contain 5.6% or 56,000 ppm of mercury (2010/11 Health Alert from California’s Department of Public Health, with picture).

In another case, sellers of the banned St. Dalfour whitening cream not only stole an existing European jam company’s brand name St. Dalfour for themselves, but also reused the company’s jam jars! Perhaps most shockingly is that these startling facts aren’t enough to deter everyone.

Skin whitening forums are rife with sellers insisting they have the “real” St Dalfour whitening cream, as opposed to the “fake” ones. All without a trace of irony.

Aggressive behavior by online sellers of banned creams

Read these two comment threads (thread 1) (thread 2) for examples of a typical banned cream seller’s spiel. Be sure to read the entire threads as they’re excellent examples of the aggressive online tactics used by shady sellers of banned whitening creams.

Initial flattery, assurances, over-the-top promises, and finally, passive aggressiveness, feigned “hurt”, intimidation, mockery or insults when they don’t get their own way. This is their modus operandi.

Read this article for some advice on how to protect yourself.

Creams containing dangerous levels of mercury

Photos

Yin Ni Whitener Repair Cream Creams Containing Mercury-Yin Ni Whitener Repair Cream
Jiaoli Day and Night Cream Creams Containing Mercury-Jiaoli day and night creamCreams Containing Mercury-Jiaoli day and night cream 2
Mui Lee Hiang – Cream for Acne & Blemishes Creams Containing Mercury-Mui Lee Hiang - Cream for Acne & Blemishes
  • Natural 99 yellow cream – Day cream
  • Natural 99 white cream – Night cream
Creams Containing Mercury-Natural 99 yellow cream - day and  Natural 99 white cream - night cream
Rose Super White Whitening Essence Creams Containing Mercury-Rose Super White Whitening Essence
Whitening Sunblock Cream – Day Cream Creams Containing Mercury-Whitening Sunblock Cream (Day Cream)
EMEL SKIN CARE CO. No. 8 Creams Containing Mercury-EMEL SKIN CARE CO. No. 8
Jin Sheng Mei Creams Containing Mercury-JinShengMei
Stillmann’s Freckle cream creams containing mercury-Stillmann's Freckle cream
Fasco Herbal cream creams containing mercury-Fasco Herbal cream
TOP-GEL MCA

  • Top Gel MCA Medicated Cream
  • Top Gel MCA Extra Pearl Cream
  • Top Gel MCA Skin Creme
Shabright Clear and Bright Skin Formula
LuLanJina Anti Black Spot and Whitening Set (yellow + white cream)
St. Dalfour Cream

  • Packaging is repurposed jam jars! See the original jars that came from a separate and unrelated jam manufacturer.
  • FRAUD ALERT (2 Sept 2011). I’ve received fake comments from someone posing as different people (“Lars Darby“, supposed “CEO” of St Dalfour Whitening Cream + “Maria“, a commenter selling the “original” St Dalfour cream). The comments came from the same I.P address (click to view screenshot).
JJJ Magic Spots Removing Cream
Miss Beauty Magic Cream
Qian Mei – white cream and yellow cream
Crema Aguamary face cream and eye cream
Crema Antiedad y Desmanchadora
(nearly identical to Crema Aguamary above)
Brite Face Cream  
Due Whitening Cream  
Wiana Whitening Cream  
Monsepa Bleaching Express Peeling

More about mercury

Before mercury was discovered to be toxic, it was extensively prescribed as a medical treatment for various conditions such as jaundice, smallpox, syphilis, gonorrhea, venereal diseases and vitiligo.

ads_mercurybleachingcream

Ads for ‘Palmer’s Skin Success’, a skin bleaching cream. The ad boasts about the cream’s ammoniated mercury content. Published in Ebony Magazine in 1966. Click to enlarge.

442 thoughts on “Mercury is a dangerous skin lightening ingredient”

  1. i’ve been using erna since november 2012, at first super dumami yung pimples ko,,pero naglighten talaga yung skin..tapos yung sa BL tinigilan ko na siya gamitin sa pimples,,sa mga insect bites ko na lang siya ina-apply kasi effective, pero sa pimples lalong lumalala.

    yung pinaghalong BL at erna,effective siya, yun nga lang sensitive talaga skin ko kaya di ko inaapply sa mukha at leeg,,directly sa pimples lang talaga..nag-work naman.

    nung una akala ko yung maliliit na butlig sa chin ko ay dahil sa creams na yun, (akala ko nga pimples, sabi ng kawork butlig lang daw) kaya nagstop ako, tapos nalaman ko yung pinsan ko tinutubuan din ng mga butlig-butlig sa hita naman niya, dahil sa super init,,malas lang sa mukha yung sa kin,,hahaha

    effective ang erna, kasi pumuti talaga ko, yun nga lang nakakatakot kasi di mo alam yung content,sabi nung binibilhan ko online, imported siya from sabah malaysia.

    hope this helps. =)

  2. Hi,

    I want to know whether promina ginseng pearl cream from Thailand contains any harmful chemical or not? My friends are applying this cream and it makes them look more white and beautiful. It is not expensive either and its packing says it has no lead, hydro-quinine and mercury but I am scared to apply it. I doubt, how come so cheap cream to that good? Please help me out

  3. Hi to all!
    I would like to attract all your attention.
    I am 33 years old, living in Dubai, and have been attracted to try the lightening cream, the one mentionned in the picture above #2. I could not expected the negative result obtained after use of 48 hours only. I got a facial oedema, follow by redness, and wrinkles all over the eyes. I’m burst!
    I am fully un-knowing, my face is disform and I look 70 years old!
    I am depressed but will defenetely fight with the health authorities of dubai to discontinue this product and to talk and inform the future users!
    This is extremely dangerous chemical product, please, do not touch!!!!

    1. Hi zainab, I’m very sorry to hear about your bad outcome from using the cream. But at the same time, I think you’re doing a good thing by alerting your local authorities.

      You may want to read this also, it might give you some hope with healing your skin over time.

  4. I have heard that Lingzhi whitening cream is banned in Canada because of containing high level of mercury. What’s more, this cream is bragged to be made in Japan but no such thing is found in Japan, and there is no legally official distributor.

  5. hi. does chin chun su facial cream contain mercury? i havent seen it here but i just want to be sure bec. ive been using that for quite a long time now. thanks

      1. im using Qian Li Mei Bai Cu Ban Wan Shuang {Jiaoli Day and Night Cream } it is dangerous to use?im worried because i started to use 2weeks ago but effective on my melasma,how long should i used or stop it now.because it says there is mercury on the cream..im confused and scared pleased answer my question and i will be appreciated thank you and more power…

  6. is Qian Li one of the cream with mercury? I am pregnant and I came across this but now thinking second thoughts about using it for ance scars, can please let me know? writing on the box is in chinesse so I dont know what it say. thanks

    1. I would never want to use chinese cream product ever again. I had my roomate ruined her skin because of that. The mere fact that u cannot read the labels soecially the engredients is so wrong already.

      I have been having acne and dark spots on my face and back. And a friend recommended me to this product and for jst a day or two my acne started to dissapear and if there’s any wound from picking it also heals a lot faster.
      You can read all the egnredients of this product on its box.

      I personally have tried lot of acne treatments. From the horrible 1week acne skin peeling and to the very expensive skin regimen from one of the well known dermatologist here in the philippines. But it all didnt work so well. Because my acne still kept coming evry now and then.

      I’v tried this product 3days ago and it works…

      I just wanna share and thought you guys wanna check it out. There’s no harm on trying at least you know what you are dealing with.

      Cheers and goodluck

          1. thnks yulana but cant find it. do u have photo? do u know where can i get it in malaysia or buy online?

          2. I looked it up GT by watson and it came up but i didnt buy it. its in english so u can read label online

  7. I’ve read the article ‘mercury is a dangerous skin lightening ingredient’ and I’m quite concerned as I’ve used ‘seven herbal ubtan’ quite a few times and it does have(positive) immediate results,

    And so I wanted to know the source form which you concluded that ‘seven herbal ubtan’ contains dangerously high levels of mercury

    thanks in advance!

  8. I am so glad I came across this site. I have been using Lulanjina (QL) spot remover. I am on my 2nd bottle now- going to the trash NOW!
    How can i talk to you???

    You are an angel!

    Lucy

    1. Thanks for your comment, Lucy. I’m very glad you’re protecting your health by throwing out the cream!

      And feel free to talk to me via the comments :)

      Hessa

  9. Thank you very much Hessa. I have a huge bunch of cilantro and some garlic which I want to blend together and start using as a side sauce with my food. I feel as if I do have mercury intoxication already since my moods seem to be on this unpredictable seesaw lately.
    There are some other products that I was using which I have also discovered have been flagged by the FDA as dangerous, but they are still in the market. I have also been using a couple of them. Please list them too: ”14 days cream spot remover” (when you google, the image clearly reads as such) and ”top lemon plus complexion cream”- both are in tubes. My skin is much darker than before and harder; I am a rough road to recovery. Btw, like you, I am a writer.

    1. Thanks for sharing, lucy. And that sounds like a good plan, the garlic and cilantro.

      You might also find castor oil useful in healing some of the damage slowly over time.

      Good luck!

      1. Hessa,

        You, my most resourceful angel, tell me, how do I use castor oil? I actually have it in my bathroom. I usually use it for my hair. Do I smear it on my face? Also, if you’d like me to send you images of the other products that I mentioned, I can. You’ll need to tell me how to send them, though. They are all ready for disposal but I felt that it might be a good idea to take a few photos so that if I will ever need to mention them later on, then I can clearly show what they actually are.
        What else can I do to lighten my face? Actually, my problem is melasma or hyperpigmentation on my cheeks and forehead. Its all in a pattern of sorts. It had all gone when i was using those products and my skin became way too light. I didnt like it. Now, its come back with vengeance; darker, harder, imposing! I need help!

        1. Hi lucy

          Yes, please do send the photos to hessa@whiterskin.info. Could you also send me links to the articles so I can cite the sources? I did a google search for them using the names you gave me, but couldn’t find anything. Thanks so much :)

          You might find this page useful — it talks about melasma, the common underlying causes (usually internal/hormonal so external methods like creams often don’t work so well) and what can be done to resolve it. Castor oil is mentioned as a possible method that can help too.

          Castor oil is pretty great, if you do a search on it, you’ll find lots of reviews that sound too good to be true. It’s not a quick fix though, it works s-l-o-w-l-y and can take several months for visible results. But it works, and it’s actually good in the sense that it seems to somehow return damaged skin cells to health. And the improvement in skin damage like scars/hyperpigmentation is really just a by-product of this healing.

          1. Hi Hessa,

            I will send you the photos + links soon – busy time for me here! Thank you v much for the info and for the support.

            Thanks a bunch!

            Lucy.

          2. By the way, I went through the melasma talk on your site. Someone recommending ”mama cream/lotion” – this is one of those products with dangerous mercury levels and it is banned as well. I will get you the links – I need time.

            Later, my Hessa!

            Lucy.

    1. Hi Umair,

      If you search on google, you should be able to get some information about that product. I would suggest, though, that you do not rely much on the first pages of google but go to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th pages and click on every link that is about banned cosmetics, scroll down the lists and see if ‘your’ cream is in the list. You need to search patiently and read every detail. Govt sponsored pages or non-commercial pages would be a good resource.

      From my experience, the major red flag is if a cream promises extra fast results, if it lightens way too fast, if your finger/toe joints or lips start getting darker, if small wounds don’t heal quickly anymore or other unfamiliar health issues start while using the cream, if the branding/packaging is cheap, poor grammar/mispelling describing the product.

      Do your own research, you get wiser along the way!

      Hope this helps!

  10. Hello, ive got a really bad tan and have suffered from hyper pigmentation for a while now and so purchased Niuma exfoliate soap and Niuma extra cream, Do you know if these products are safe? there isnt much information online about them, thanks

    1. Simone,

      If there is not much that you are able to get about the product from your online research, then the next search should be the company that makes the product. Check their name/website and see the lists of other products that they make. If there are banned products among the other products that they make, then its likely the product you are using is not safe as well. Sometimes they just change the name and packaging of a banned product and market it as a ”new” product.

      Hope this helps!

      Lucy.

  11. hi there, how’s everyone? I want to know if MISS BEAUTY MOIST WHITENING CREAM that comes in milk, papaya, strawberry and avocado safe? I saw the bottle and I found that it was BFAD approved,why it was approved and the magic creams were not? i want to use the MOIST lotion but since it came from same brand, i’m having some doubts.

      1. Thanks very much, lucy :) You’ve been exceedingly patient and helpful, and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it.

        1. well, I don’t feel that I have done enough. I would really like to bury my head in this to dig up all the banned products. Clearly, such companies should not take advantage of desperate people who just want to repair their skin problems.

          By the way, I still have the tubes of the creams I was using and I still intend to get to the sites that label them as banned like I said I would do for you. Its just that I have little time, but I will do it. It was a deep search and I got the info’ at some back pages. Like you might have noticed, I tend to tell people asking the all famous question about whether such and such a cream is safe to do the search themselves. I actually do a little search on whatever cream they ask about and once I see it on several pages as a banned product, then I tell them to do a search. I believe people become more responsible and more informed when they take on such a task themselves.

          I am happy we found each other here. Thank you too.

          Lucy (:

          1. Hi lucy, no worries about getting me the info, I don’t want you to stress over them :) Life is busy enough.

            I’m happy we found each other too!

            Cheers,

            Hessa

          2. Hessa,

            Let’s stay in touch. By the way, I am still looking for that which can clear my face. The melasma that came back is now darker. The castor oil is great, its a fantastic moisturiser and that’s what I have been using. The acne is almost gone, melasma remains. Sad!

            I have pinned a few products/items which I feel might work but I don’t know how to get them:

            Retin A, Meladerm Whitening Cream, Vitamin C Serum and a Derma Roller. – What do you think of this combo??

            Glad we met!

            Lucy.

          3. Hi lucy

            I’m glad to hear the castor oil is helping your acne :) I believe if you keep up with it, you could see the melasma “breaking up” after several months.

            I’ve tried a few of the things you’ve pinned so I’ll try to share what I know. I’ve not tried Retin A so I can’t speak to that…

            But you can make your own Vitamin C serum easily and cheaply. I make mine fresh by mixing a tiny bit of Vitamin C powder with water. You can find this online as a supplement (NOW Foods and NutriBiotic are a couple of brands). Sometimes it’s called Vitamin C “crystals”, but they’re the same thing, just pure Vitamin C. I keep mine in the fridge and also take it internally for health, though it tastes very sour!

            I’ve tried using dermarollers before and my experience wasn’t that great. I think it was just too harsh and painful for me. I’ve got a low tolerance for pain. I was using it to try to break up an old scar on my arm, but it ended up causing a little bit more scarring where I’d pressed too deeply. But I’ve also read how it’s worked well for others, so it could just be that I have sensitive skin. If you do try dermarollers, I’d suggest testing it on some other part of your body first rather than your face (just in case) and taking companion nutrients that would speed up skin healing (Vitamin C is a great example).

            I only used Meladerm once several years ago, but I can’t really give a fair review because I remember that I didn’t use it often enough or consistently. The cream was very thick/sticky and made my skin feel hot, so it was hard to want to use it. I guess the best treatments are the ones we actually do! oh.. and the pump nozzle also made it hard to use up all the cream and for something quite pricey, I thought that was a bit of a rip-off. Hopefully they’ve changed the bottle design now.

            Hope that gives you something to go on. Do keep me updated on your progress, I’ll be interested to hear :)

            Hessa

          4. Thank you for letting me about a cheap and easy way of making Vitamic C. I will definitely try that. About Retin A, I think it will, if anything, give some plump to the face. Many people who have used it swear by it.
            The Derma Roller seems to work for quite a number of people – i have read both, positive and negative feedback. From my own distant assessment, I would start with a 0.5mm then progress to a 1.5 mm or 2 mm.. My reasoning tells me that since the skin on my face is not responding to topical applications of most things, then some poking about to trigger some blood flow and, of course, stimulate collagen should suffice- just my own thinking. It’s affordable too, so i can gamble on its claims.

            About the Meladerm, I may try it or not. I don’t like it when some stuff costs that much, not to mention that i have to wait for anyone willing to bring it for me from america.

            Please stay in touch.

            Lucy

          5. Hi Lucy,

            You’re very welcome. And starting with the smaller needles first sounds like a sensible plan. Best of luck to you :)

            Take care

            Hessa

  12. hello,

    I have recently purchased glutathione soap from angel touch essentials. ingredients are as below:
    Active Ingredients: * Glutathione Alpha Lipoic Acid * Grape Seed Extract * Vitamin C & E * Lye solution & high grade coconut oil with * Glutathione Powder * Moisturizing Milk with Collagen * Glutathione Syrup * Glutathione Whitening Capsule * Propylene Glycol * Rosehip Syrup and Honey * Water (Aqua).

    could anyone suggests me how safe is this soap to be used on my face… pls advise

    1. Hi there,

      The best research can only be done by you!

      However, from what I have seen, it looks like it is a good soap to use but you must be wary of imitations. Make sure you have a genuine product. As always, not all products give the same results for everyone.

      Nevertheless, give it a shot and remember to let us know.

      Hope it works for you!

      1. Hi,

        I just received my order of Pure castor oil today. I applied to my face. I still have 1 months time for my holiday. lets see how things go from here. fingers crossed

        1. Hi Mrs Ahmed,

          I wish you all the best. I use it as well and if anything, it is a very good moisturiser. I apply mine every day – morning & evening, including when I am going out where I then apply it under sunscreen + concealer + foundation… I apply a lot of it and rub it in for about a minute or two.
          Please stay in touch. You are not alone.

          Lucy

  13. hello,

    theres a good news. all my prayers are answered with hard efforts. my hyperpigmentation on my only cheekbone has faded by anything between 75-80%. I don’t what has caused, but definitely my prayers are answered.

    Here is my regime which I started a week ago:

    1. wash face with kojic acid soap morning and before bed
    2. apply a mixture of castor oil (2 drops) + tea tree oil (2 drops) on the whole face excluding my chin as many times as possible. as I am a full time mum to my lil toddler who’s just few months old, hence I applied very frequently.The reason I excluded my chin is bcos am afraid I will have rapid hair growth due to castor oil properties
    3. pure aloe vera gel (Holland and barrett) mask once in the afternoon
    4. exfoliating with st. ives apricot scrub gently, wash with kojic soap , apply 15% glycolic acid detoxifying gel (from Bravura London)( step 4 is before bed)
    5. And yes, taking 3 capsules of omega 3 fish oil (Holland & barrett) , 1 tablet Vit- C, 1 tablet Zinc, 1 tablet Vit- E, 1 tablet Vit- B3. I would like to include Vit- A as well, may be when I go for shopping, I will get one…..

    A strange thing what I noticed was, when I started applying teatree oil 2 days ago, it dried my brown pigmentation, formed a scab and due to frequent use of castor oil and gentle exfoliation, all of a sudden this morning it came off, and my hyperpigmentation is visible may be just by 20-25%

    thank you Hessa and Lucy, for supporting me. I will keep updating the progress, so that its helpful to others as well.

    If anyone in need of glutathione serum, pls msg me , I will do post free of cost, as I am not using anymore. I just used once, as my skin is sensitive for each and everything, hence I stopped using it.

    Also pseudocream is the best stuff of dealing with redness, which I have tried on my face and in just 1 night all my redness disappeared.

    will be soon posting my before and after pictures

  14. also please check for TAMANU OIL. Its a high antioxidant and 20 times better than vitamin C, very good for acne, rosacea…a lot more. please do research about this. What I feel is, this oil should be a must have for every women. I am going to order it tomorrow, and some raw honey and yes not to forget AMLA powder. please research, and then you will come to know what Im talking about. these 3 products are just wonderful and a must have

    1. Oh, thanks for the recommendation! I’ve never heard of tamanu oil before this, but it seems to have rave reviews for anti-ageing and removing scars/blemishes. I’ll have to try it sometime.

    2. Mrs Ahmed,

      I can almost see your smile across your mirror! Indeed, this is very good news. I am happy for you and I am sure you’re now set to go out on holiday soon and celebrate. You deserve it. Do you know where Tamanu oil can be found? Which country are you in? The tea tree + castor sounds like a clever idea, thank you.

      Hessa, thank YOU for this site.. you are my one and only!

      Lucy.

        1. Hessa, I wanna make you smile everyday. Q- are you m or f? Seriously, I dont know and also, which country are you in?
          Lucy

          1. I’m happy to report that I’m a woman and living in Singapore right now. It’s nice to be in contact with you ladies even though you’re all far away :)

          2. Wow!

            I meant to ask about it through your inbox but it was taking me long getting your email that’s why I went like, ‘what the heck, let me just ask!’

            By the way, I have been to Singapore and I loved every bit of it!!- the most beautiful, most clean country in the world! but i missed my chewing gums! Your trains, buses are so clean! And, I had never seen such huge prawns in my life! -ooh the overnight food markets! The memory warms my heart.

            Please email me.

  15. Heloo,

    I live in UK…..Trust me, there was not a single day when I have done my research. I spent around 20hrs at computer every day doing research for my hyperpigmentationon my right cheek which was caused by my mistake of stupid LA peel. I swear, I will not touch any more peels. its definitely not for my ethnic skin. yes back to the topic, my research had put me across TAMANU oil, AMLA powder. both of these products can be easily be found in ebay which I have already checked.I am planning to order from ebay, before purchasing from ebay, please check their feedback scores, so as to be 100% sure that you are buying original stuff.

    Let me tell you one more thing, the lady from Holland & Barrett store was right. she said, apply just 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil on the pigmented area, and that will dry out that area. That’s what happened. you can trust their stuff, its a highly reputed store. but you need to check the sensitivity before you use, as to some may be its irritating. but I am 100% sure, you guys will be fine with this product, bcos when it suits my skin which is super duper sensitive, then you guys will not have any problem when applied on the face

    1. Thank you for that info. I know Holland & Barrett, its a great store. Your sorrow has paid off. I am eager to report something like that here, I hope SOON!
      I am anxious to see those before/after pictures.
      I have brown, super sensitive hyperpigmented skin. You’d never tell if you met me, I conceal it very well. will def’ try to teatree oil.

      Lucy.

    1. Hi Mrs Ahmed, you could upload your photos online (tinypic.com is easy as no registration is needed) and add the links to a comment here. Or if you’d prefer, you can email them to me at hessa [at] whiterskin [dot] info and I’ll upload them for you. Thanks!

    2. For anyone who’s interested, here are Mrs Ahmed’s before-and-after photos, which she has kindly shared.

      Before

      After

  16. Thank you so much Hessa, for taking all the effort. I appreciate ur help. I am very thankful to you. very much indeed. Thank you again my love.

  17. Hey!does ‘Qing Zhi’ cream for spots and freckle contain mercury or hydroquinone?I just started using it so I’d like to be sure.Thanks in advance!awaiting your reply..

  18. Hello,

    Am living in Singapore, am suffering with my skin , I used many creams but no result , mine is oily skin am 31 years old having pimples and scars on my face can any one suggest me for result oriented face whitening cream which has no content of mercury in it.

    1. Hello Neehan,

      What I suggest you is to try mixture of Castor oil (Hexane free) & Tamanu oil for scars. And I suggest you to do some research on Tranexamic acid. At the moment I am regularly using topical tranexamic acid on my face twice a day, and a mixture of Tamanu oil, castor oil, Grapeseed extract on my face once a day, along with intake of vitamin C, Omega- 3 Fish oil, Zinc, Vitamin B complex, vitamin E, Healthy Liver ( twice a day, as it flushes out all the toxics from your body).

  19. I use this product and the effect is very good. Within 1 month many of my friends said my skin looked clean and soft. How can I know that the product is dangerous or not? Please . I need your help this for my healthy skin and life .

  20. I use this product * ESTHER BLEACHING CREAM (A) (B)* and the effect is very good. Within 1 month many of my friends said my skin looked clean and soft. How can I know that the product is dangerous or not? Please . I need your help for my healthy skin and life .

  21. Hi everyone, please let me know if the POP Popular Facial Cream of Thailand contains mercury. And if it does, it’s harm to my body since I just used ONLY 3 times and I stopped using it now. Thank you very much for you input

  22. i am having a hard time treating my melasma i have tried taking pynocare but nothing happens, i already tried a lot of creams selling online and just yesterday dropped by in a small Chinese product store in the supermarket, the lady told me to try S’Zitang 7 day specific whitening spot AB set and so sad to find out that it includes mercury…pls. help me if you can suggest anything safe and effective to make my melasma fade away..

  23. i am sad to hear that faiza beauty cream is also labelled dangerous as i have been using it for a few months now and does wonders for my skin. can someone suggest an alternative. thanks

    1. Hi Sunshine, you can try a deep healing oil like castor oil or extra virgin coconut oil. This is not a ‘quick fix’ (could take several months up to a year), but if you’re patient and use it daily, I believe it can help rebuild and heal your skin.

      Take care

      Hessa

  24. hi i would like to check with you im using esther gold it been 1 yrs so i need your advise is it contain mercury? because my face is very fair and im scared it might contain mercury plz do reply me back asap thx u very much.

    1. Hi Sara, sorry to give you bad news, but according to Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Esther Bleaching Cream contains mercury. See this article.

      And despite the name change from “Esther Bleaching Cream” to “Esther Gold Cream” (which is a very common tactic), if a cream manufacturer was unscrupulous and deceitful enough to use mercury before, why would anyone buy anything else they produce?

      Even without this, the lack of credible information on the manufacturer and its ingredients as well as the packaging (similar to other mercury-laden creams like Jiaoli) are already highly suspicious.

      Manufacturers with legal products generally do not do these things.

      1. omg im scared now because i have been use it abt 1 yrs. i have to stop using it but what should i use then i want something cheap n simple to use. plz plz guide me im worried now plz reply me asap thx u very much.

          1. hey hi thx alot for d advise will try to eat raw veg and fruit …. and about the vit C will try. thx again ;)

          2. is it okay if im using extra virgin coconut oil for my face? sorry to ask alot of question because im really concern about my face actually.

          1. If you’re talking about H2O+, it seems to be a fairly reputable brand so it’s unlikely they’ll risk using banned substances like mercury. There are also product ingredients listed on their website.

  25. Hi

    I want to know whether pai mei whitening anti spot cream from China contains any harmful chemical or not? Please ?

  26. Hi

    Skin whitening has become a fad now a days. I don’t want too white complexion just the right fairer skin. I recently tried mixing Miss Beauty Moist Milk lotion mixed with Chinese BL cream that comes in small red cylinder containers. I learned this from an office mate. They say it lightens the skin in just 2 weeks! I’ve been using it for more than a week now. My friends tells me that my skin looks fairer. Now, I’m not so sure if this is safe as the products are china made and I can’t tell the contents as it is all in chinese packaging. Also, I’m starting to feel some discomfort at my back where the kidneys should be. I don’t know if I’m just being paranoid or what. But it will really ease my worry if you can enlighten me some info. about the contents of this product before I recommend this to someone else. I’d appreciate it.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi liz,

      BL cream appears to be an anti-fungal cream. It contains clobetasol propionate, which is a corticosteroid. Prolonged use can thin the skin, among other problems.
      http://www.whiterskin.info/corticosteroids-should-not-be-used-to-lighten-skin/

      Here’s a Google image search so you can check if what you bought is the same cream or not.

      As an aside, even if the cream you’d bought is not the same BL cream, you said that it’s in Chinese packaging and you don’t know what it contains. That’s already a big risk IMO, and I hope you’ll reconsider using it.

      1. Hello Hessa,

        Thank you for sharing the link. Yep! That’s the cream that I’m talking about alright. I just didn’t know its ingredient and the effect of it. It also has a soap version sold in chinese department stores. Now that I’ve known, I will now discontinue to use this and discourage anyone as well.

        Please continue to update your blog for everone’s awareness. I may drop by again to consult you with questions if I’d spot a new product. More power to you and this site!

        -Liz

  27. Oh!

    By the way I forgot to ask since I saw Pond’s on the list above, what about the Pond’s Age Miracle cream that’s being sold here in Philippines? Does it contain mercury too? That’s my current facial regimen.

    Thanks again. :)

    1. I haven’t found anything about Pond’s Age Miracle cream being tested for mercury.

      It’s a shock that any Pond’s (or Olay) products can be included in the list on this page, and the companies definitely have some explaining to do.

      But although some of their creams have tested positive for mercury in India, the levels found were relatively low at ~2ppm, compared to the bulk of other illegal whitening creams, where the worst have 30,000ppm of mercury and more. Products from big companies like Unilever and P&G probably still carry much lower risk (though not zero risk) since they have a reputation to maintain and shareholders to keep happy.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Hey, :)

        I don’t know how to react with ” Low risk”. Does low risk means it’s somewhat ok and tolerable for our skin? A little mercury content won’t hurt much? Maybe the cream is safe ‘coz Unilever and P&G had been around for long. Their products are popularly endorsed and the FDA have not reacted negatively. I cross my fingers hoping this cream I’m using now is safe ‘coz I’m liking the results.

        Anyways, thank you for your feedback Hessa. Have a great day! :)

        -Liz

        1. Hi liz

          You’re welcome :) And I just meant that the big companies are probably more likely to try to comply with regulations, so their products should come with lower risk as a result. Of course these days, nothing is a given, but I hope that can give you some peace of mind.

          Hessa

  28. Hai iam jasmine,
    I am usinf janson whiteing facial china product.will u pls tell me whether i contain mervury or not.and also pls tell me about oriflame products.

  29. Hi Hessa
    my sister in law bought a facial product from her friend is a papaya soap from Taiwan that is called original top one and one orange and one yellow cream that is called donnabella skin care here in California. My sister and mother in law had a lot of black spot in their faces and now their skin looks very luminous, tight and shiny. So now I’m giving it a try and my skin is getting kind of shiny and tight and I’m happy with the results but now that I came across with this site I’m confused. I’m scared can you please help me to find out about this creams. Thank you

    1. Hi, I’ve not heard of any of these creams/soaps. You can try to contact the seller/manufacturer and use your own good judgement.

  30. plz tell me the safest whitening cream ???? wat abt skinwhite gold beauty . “no mercury or harmful agents “is posted on its pack

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