The public has been warned by Health Sciences Authority (HSA) not to purchase or use 'Tati Skin Care 5-in-1' cosmetic set which is being sold online. This is due to recent reports that have shown it contains mercury, which exceeds permissible limits and the addition of other prohibited ingredients. These products have previously been investigated in Malaysia for the same reasons.

This skincare set consists of a treatment cream, a day cream, a night cream, sunblock and cleanser.

Toxic effects of substances cannot be ignored

The night cream in the set contains “very high levels of mercury” that exceeds acceptable limits by over 20,000 times and could pose serious health risks to customers. The treatment cream, on the other hand, was found to contain “prohibited and potent ingredients, tretinoin and hydroquinone”.

“Consumers who have purchased or are using this product are advised to stop using and discard them immediately as their use can lead to serious health consequences,” said HSA officials at a press conference on 7 June.

These products were sold online and claimed to be “100% free of harmful chemicals” and the addition of “100% No Mercury Guarantee” could be found on the packaging. HSA reminded the sellers that mercury is prohibited as an ingredient in cosmetic products.

The toxicity of mercury could cause rashes, skin discolouration and blotching to develop. Long-term exposure to very excessive levels of mercury in cosmetic products might also be detrimental to the kidneys, digestive and nervous system leading to organ damage as the skin easily absorbs it.

Hydroquinone and tretinoin are often used in Western prescription medicines to treat skin conditions. HSA commented that these ingredients are prohibited in skincare cosmetic products and must only be used under medical supervision, as it can potentially be harmful without proper handling. Hydroquinone could cause skin colour changes and hypersensitivity reactions like redness, tingling, rashes and burning of skin. Skin redness and peeling can be seen in cases of inappropriate tretinoin usage.

Harsh penalty for sellers of illegal health products

Group director of the health products regulation group at HSA, Associate Professor Chan Cheng Leng said that HSA’s surveillance of the online sales platform for cosmetic products uncovered over 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,” he continued.

These authorities stated that action would be taken against anyone selling the “Tati Skin Care 5-in-1” set. Sellers were also warned about the strict penalty if caught. Anyone supplying illegal health products could be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to SGD100,000 if convicted. Authorities also advised customers to purchase cosmetic products only from reliable and reputable sources. MIMS

This article has been edited on 13 June 2017.

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