The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned the public not to buy or use 'Tati Skin Care 5 in 1' cosmetic set as it contains alarmingly high levels of toxic mercury and other prohibited ingredients.
In a statement issued today (June 7), HSA said it will take action against online retailers selling the skincare set and warned them about the harsh penalty if they are caught. Those convicted face a jail sentence of up to three years and/or fine up to $100,000.
HSA said the night cream in the set could pose serious health risks to users as the amount of mercury in it exceeded the permissible limits by more than 20,000 times.
The treatment cream, another item in the set, was found to contain prohibited ingredients like tretinoin and hydroquinone. The set also includes a day cream, a sun block and a beauty soap.
Alarmed by the proliferation of online sales of cosmetic products containing banned substances, Assoc Professor Chan Cheng Leng, Group Director of the Health Products Regulation Group, HSA, said: "HSA's surveillance of the online sales platform for cosmetic products have uncovered more than 200 online sellers involved in the illegal sale of adulterated cosmetic products in the recent two months. This shows 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."
Mercury is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products, reminded the HSA.
Regular use of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching. Chronic exposure to very high levels of mercury 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 hydroquinone and tretinoin are also prohibited in skincare cosmetic products and should only be used under medical supervision as they may cause harmful effects if not used properly.
Inappropriate use of hydroquinone could result in changes in skin colour and reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling and burning of skin. Inappropriate use of tretinoin could cause redness and peeling of the skin.
HSA advised consumers to buy cosmetic products only from reliable and reputable sources.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of 'Tati Skin Care 5 in 1' or other illegal products are urged to contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at Tel: 6866-3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email: email@example.com.
Visit www.healthdangers.sg to learn more about the dangers of buying illegal health products from questionable sources.