Before you apply creams and soaps that promise to make you ‘fair and lovely’ or don your favourite brand of eye makeup and mascara, think again.
According to a recent report by WHO, these could contain deadly mercury.
How does mercury affect your health?
The inorganic form of mercury found in skin lightening creams and soaps could cause kidney damage, skin rashes, discolouration and scarring. It also causes a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.
Do your cosmetics contain mercury?
Read the packaging before you buy any product. Look for the names mercury, Hg, mercuric iodide, mercurous chloride, amooniated mercury, amide chloride of mercury, quicksilver, cinnabaris (mercury sulfide), hydrargyri oxydum rubdum (mercury oxide). Check if there are any directions to avoid contact with silver, gold, rubber, aluminium and jewellery – these too could indicate the presence of mercury in the product.
While there is a ban in such skincare products containing mercury in the US and Europe, the market for fairness creams and lotions is at an all-time high in India. While we haven’t been able to enlist the brands which do contain mercury, we suggest you be wary and check the ingredients before you buy them.