Trading Standards warns of illegal skin lighteners

Illegal skin lighteners, containing potentially harmful products,  have been found on sale in our region.

Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service say that the creams are similar to products which have been on sale in London.
Trading Standards officers have seized a considerable quantity of illegal skin lightening creams that were being sold over the internet by a Devon-based trader.

The creams, which were being imported from the Philippines without any safety checks being carried out, contain hydroquinone, a bleaching agent.

The use of hydroquinone in skin lighteners is banned in Britain and across the EU as it can cause damage to the liver and nervous system.

However, its use in such products is still prevalent in some parts of the world. Skin lighteners containing hydroquinone have previously been found “under the counter” in London based shops, or available for sale online.

The products seized were clearly marked as containing the banned substance, although some were found to contain well over the amount stated on the packaging.

Officers also found spot removing creams which, when sent for analysis, were found to contain mercury, a toxic element that is banned in cosmetics.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services,  with a responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “These products are potentially dangerous and could harm your health.

“If you think you have some of these products you should stop using them immediately.”

Councillor David Hall, the Deputy Leader for Somerset County Council, with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “These products are sold by unscrupulous traders who are more concerned with making money than the health of their customers.

“If you believe you have purchased or own some of these products please report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline.”

You can call The Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.