The United Kingdom’s Local Government Association (LGA) has said that certain creams designed to whiten your skin can be as harmful as paint remover, and customers should make sure to stay away from such products.
The skin-whitening creams “act like paint stripper and increase the risk of cancer,” according to the LGA.
A lot of these creams have been prohibited in the United Kingdom because of their dangerous ingredients. Even so, the fact that more of these products are still being confiscated means that they’re still being sold.
What’s the problem with skin-whitening products?
The majority of these skin-whitening items contain an outlawed ingredient called hydroquinone: a bleaching substance that is “the biological equivalent of paint stripper,” the LGA explained in its statement. This agent basically pulls away the outer layer of the skin, which exacerbates the chances of developing cancer, and it could also damage the liver and kidneys.
The World Health Organization says that another frequently barred ingredient, mercury, can lower resistance to bacterial and fungal infections as well as creating liver damage, depression, anxiety, and even psychosis.
“Skin creams containing banned ingredients are very dangerous and could seriously damage your health, scar you for life, and even kill you, so they should be avoided at all costs,” stated Simon Blackburn, Blackpool Councilor.
Of course there are legal options for skin-whitening products which possess natural or non-damaging ingredients, however, they tend to be quite costly, which explains the increased demand for cheap and risky prohibited goods. If someone at an executive level in a company is found to be selling these illegal products, they could receive a fine of up to £20,000 (roughly $24,500) and possibly a jail sentence of around one year.
A retailer in South London was hit with a 20 month prison sentence last August after selling merchandise containing hydroquinone and mislabelling their products.