THURSDAY, Sept. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Skin lightening products can be dangerous for consumers when they contain harmful ingredients that are illegal for over-the-counter sales, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday.

The potentially dangerous ingredients are hydroquinone or mercury, the particular agency said in a news release.

People who have used products with hydroquinone have suffered side effects that included rashes , facial swelling, and permanent skin discoloration, the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION warned. Meanwhile, mercury is highly toxic and can damage the nervous, digestive and immune systems, as well as the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

Skin lightening products are usually marketed because treatments with regard to uneven skin tone, acne , age spots, freckles and wrinkles. Companies may describe skin fast products since skin bleaching , fading, evening, brightening or whitening products. The particular products are often sold while creams, lotions, soaps or even powders in shops that cater to Hispanic/Latino, Asian, African or Middle Eastern communities, the particular FDA stated.

These products limit the skin’s production associated with melanin , responsible for pores and skin, hair plus eye color. But hydroquinone and mercury may build up within the body over time.

“Skin lightening items containing hydroquinone are not approved for otc sale, ” the FDA said. “However, you can get a prescription skin product containing hydroquinone from your health care provider. The use of mercury in epidermis lightening products is banned. ”

Consumers should check item labels plus avoid those containing hydroquinone or mercury. Mercury may be listed like mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio or even Hg. Illegal products might be inaccurately labeled. Avoid products with handmade labels, labels in languages other than English, or no label at all, the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION said.

Report any bad reaction from a skin product to your health care provider and to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

More information

The World Health Organization has more on mercury in skin products.

SOURCE: U. S. As well as Drug Administration, news release, Aug. 30, 2022

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