- A woman in Minnesota suffered partial vision loss, as well as other symptoms, after mercury exposure from skin whitening cream.
- Mercury, a chemical that blocks melanin production, was not disclosed on the product labels.
- Health officials say the loss of vision is irreversible.
In the world of beauty, lots of people aspire to have not only healthy skin but bright, glowing complexions—often using products like brightening serums and eye creams . But , what happens when the ingredients in your beauty products cause harmful side effects? Recently, a woman in Minnesota experienced partial vision loss in addition to the host associated with other worrying symptoms linked to the particular use of skin-lightening creams containing mercury, according to a CNN report .
Multiple doctor visits plus clinical results lead to the thorough investigation from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), which found high levels of mercury in the woman’s home, including within the laundry room, towels, bedding, and children’s bedrooms.
Officials noted that the likely culprit of the being concerned symptoms was found within beauty creams—specifically, those that were marketed for pores and skin lightening. The product’s labels, which the particular affected woman says were obtained out of the country, did not disclose high levels of the toxic chemical found in the formulas. Nonetheless, the particular woman will likely not regain her vision, based on CNN.
Mercury, when added to topical creams and lotions is meant in order to lighten the skin “as it works to inhibit the formation of melanin, ” explains Marisa Garshick, M. D. , a leading board-certified dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in NYC. “That being said, the particular [Federal Drug Administration] (FDA) has limited the amount of mercury to less than 1 ppm of mercury in epidermis lightening items, while other countries have banned the use of mercury within skin lightening products. ”
Skin fast practices, especially those that will contain mercury, are risky and harmful for a variety of reasons, Dr. Garshick explains. These products can not only irritate the skin, but they can be absorbed by the skin causing issues related to the kidneys and nervous system—including tremors, changes in vision or hearing, numbness and tingling, and more.
“It will be especially important that those who are pregnant avoid excess exposure to mercury. The particular level plus extent associated with exposure may be related in order to the severity of the effects, ” Dr. Garshick mentioned. “Family members can also become exposed to mercury through close contact and sharing bath towels or washcloths contaminated with mercury, which usually can be especially problematic for young children, ” such as the type of exposure in the Minnesota case.
“No one intentionally wants to hurt themselves or their family users. But it’s out there plus you can’t see it, you can’t smell it, ” Erin Batdorff, M. D., a fellow in medical toxicology who examined the woman in her home, told CNN. “There’s no way [for consumers] to know whether [mercury] is inside the lotions or not because it’s not on the brands. ”
The best way to protect yourself from dangerous chemicals like mercury within personal care and beauty products is to thoroughly research the items, consult the board-certified dermatologist, and purchase products from authorized vendors—especially when it comes to skin-lightening products, Doctor. Garshick says. “Additionally, it is best to avoid products that are imported from other countries if you are not really sure of the particular formulation, if they are not labeled, or in case they are usually being sold illegally in the United States, ” Dr . Garshick adds.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only situation of mercury linked to skin-lightening products. “The use of skin-lightening is now a public health crisis within the Somali community and other communities of color, ” Amira Adawe, founder and executive director from the Beautywell Project told CNN. “I possess met some women that have been using these products 10 to 15 years…[and] I always get phone calls from individuals who are dealing with the particular side effects of mercury. ”
If a person are looking for a paler complexion, there are many other avenues to pursue, Doctor Garshick notes, yet they are best used under the guidance of a board-certified dermatologist—specifically, ingredients like hydroquinone.
If you suspect you may not be reacting well to an ingredient or even formula in a beauty product, be sure to contact a healthcare professional.
Freelance Editorial Assistant
Shannen Zitz is usually a Freelance Editorial Associate at Prevention who recently graduated from the State University of New York in Cortland along with an English degree. She loves all things fashion, elegance, and wellness. If she’s not reading or writing, you can probably find her frequenting the skincare and makeup forums upon Reddit.