HSA recalls 18 cosmetic products, some with high levels of mercury

HSA initiated a recall of 18 cosmetic products found with potent ingredients. (Photos: HSA)

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has named 18 cosmetic products that it says contain “potent undeclared ingredients” – including some with over 27,000 times the permissible level of mercury.

In an advisory issued on Friday (20 April), HSA said it has “initiated the recall of the affected products from retail outlets, and has directed the administrators of online sales platforms to remove web listings of the affected products”.

The purportedly skin-whitening and anti-acne products from a variety of brands were sold at retail outlets and on various online platforms, and claimed to “improve complexion” and “even out skin tone”, the statutory board said.

HSA regularly tests health products sold locally for quality, and in these products it found mercury and other potent ingredients including hydroquinone and tretinoin, which could “lead to serious adverse reactions”.

Consumers were advised to be wary of cosmetic products that promise “quick and miraculous results or carry exaggerated claims such as skin whitening within a short period of time”.

Adverse effects of the substances found in the products

According to HSA, mercury is a toxic heavy metal and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products as it could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching. Long-term exposure can cause serious health problems, including damage to the kidneys, digestive and nervous systems.

Hydroquinone and tretinoin are potent ingredients used in Western prescription medicines for treatment of skin conditions. These ingredients are prohibited in skincare cosmetic products and should only be used under strict medical supervision, said the HSA.

Inappropriate use of hydroquinone could result in changes in skin colour, rashes, redness and burning of the skin. The use of tretinoin could also lead to redness and peeling of skin.

HSA advised consumers who are experiencing adverse effects to visit a doctor. Consumers were also warned to be cautious when purchasing cosmetic products online or from unfamiliar sources. Instead, consumers should buy products from reliable and reputable sources such as registered pharmacies or established retail stores.

HSA also directed sellers and suppliers to stop the supply of the 18 cosmetic products immediately. Anyone supplying illegal health products may be prosecuted and face a jail term of up to three years/and or a maximum fine of $100,000 upon conviction.

Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these cosmetic products may contact HSA at 6866-3485 on weekdays or email: hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.

List of recalled products 

  • Balleza Skincare Night Cream
  • Balleza Skincare Treatment
  • Brilliant Skin Essentials Rejuvenating Cream Exfoliant Cream
  • Brilliant Skin Essentials Rejuvenating Facial Toner Exfoliant Toner
  • Brilliant Skin Essentials Whitening Cream 10g
  • Brilliant Skin Essentials Whitening facial toner 60ml
  • droplets of Nature Rejuvenating Cream Lift & Correct 10g
  • droplets of Nature Rejuvenating Toner Lift & Correct
  • Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene with SPF 30 Avocado & & Aloe Vera
  • Karisma Cosmetic Skincare Day Cream
  • Karisma Cosmetic Skincare Night Cream
  • Karisma Cosmetic Skincare Treatment Cream
  • Professional Skin Care Formula by Dr. Alvin Rejuvenating Cream
  • Professional Skin Care Formula by Dr. Alvin Rejuvenating Toner
  • Skin Magical Rejuvenating Cream No. 1
  • Skin Magical Rejuvenating Facial Toner No. 1
  • Speaks G Skin Essential Brightening Rejuvenating Cream 10g
  • Speaks G Skin Essential Brightening Rejuvenating Toner 60ml

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