SINGAPORE: A skincare product sold on various online platforms has been banned for sale in Singapore after authorities found very high levels of mercury as well as prohibited and dangerous ingredients in its contents.
The Tati Skin Care 5 in 1 cosmetic set is touted as being "100 per cent free of harmful chemicals", with claims of having no mercury on its packaging, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a news release.
The set consists of a day cream, night cream, treatment cream, sunblock and cleanser. HSA tested the products and found that the night cream contained levels of mercury 20,000 times higher than permissable limits - posing a "serious health hazard" to consumers, it said.
Mercury is a toxic substance and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products.
Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rashes, skin discolouration and blotching. Chronic exposure to very high levels of mercury in cosmetic products may also cause toxic effects to the kidneys, digestive and nervous system leading to organ damage as it can be absorbed through the skin, HSA said.
The treatment cream in the set was also found to contain tretinoin and hydroquinone, both of which are prohibited in cosmetic skincare products as they can cause harmful effects if not used properly. HSA said the ingredients - which are used in prescription medicines for the treatment of skin conditions - should only be used under medical supervision.
The inappropriate use of hydroquinone could result in changes in skin colour and hypersensitivity reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling and burning of skin, while the inappropriate use of tretinoin could lead to redness and peeling of the skin.
MORE THAN 200 ONLINE SELLERS FOUND IN 2 MONTHS
HSA’s group director of the surveillance of the Health Products Regulation Group Chan Cheng Leng said the authority uncovered more than 200 online sellers involved in the illegal sale of "adulterated cosmetic products" in the past two months, showing the widespread circulation of these products.
"Many of these sellers hide under the anonymity of the Internet. Consumers need to be wary about purchasing cosmetic products with exaggerated claims and which promise fast results, as they may contain ingredients harmful to health,” Associate Professor Chan said.
HSA said that all sellers must stop selling the Tati skincare set immediately, or face legal action. Anyone who supplies illegal health products may be imprisoned for up to three years and fined up to S$100,000 if convicted.
The authority advised members of the public to stop using the product immediately and see a doctor if they are experiencing adverse effects following its use. More information on the dangers of buying illegal health products from questionable sources can be found on HSA's Health Dangers website.
Those with information on the sale and supply of the Tati skincare products or other illegal products may inform HSA's enforcement branch via phone at +65 6866 3485 during office hours on weekdays or via email.