How is Mercury Damaging to Our Skin? And Safer Options for Skin Brightening

It has been decades that we see skincare industries promote the beauty of having fairer skin with models and products. And with many Malaysian women are obsessed with obtaining fairer skin, some of them are even willing to try skincare products that promise them fairer skin in just two weeks! 

What we are worried about here is that any skincare products that can make you fair in such a short time are always associated with mercury. Mercury is inexpensive, effectively remove dark spots and lighten your skin. But mercury is very harmful to your health, and our government has banned few products that contain mercury.

How does mercury work in beauty products? Let’s find out!

Where Do You Find Mercury in Cosmetics and Skincare?

Inorganic mercury and organic mercury are both toxic and dangerous! However, inorganic compounds are more harmful than organic compounds. Inorganic mercury is the one that has been used in skin lightening soaps and creams. 

Mercury in skincare products inhibit the formation of melanin, resulting in lighter skin tone, giving it a skin lightening effect with the promises of reducing pigmentation, dark spots and freckles. It can also be found in antiseptic soaps! Do be more aware and alert when purchasing antiseptic soap and watch out for mercury.

Organic mercury compounds are used as cosmetic preservatives in eye makeup cleansing products and mascara. It is used to help elongate the shelf life of a product. However, due to the increase of awareness against mercury and its adverse health reaction, some manufacturers are no longer using mercury as a preservative in mascaras and eye makeup cleansing products. 

The main adverse effect of the use of inorganic mercury found in skin lightening soaps and creams is kidney damage, as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO). Some mercury compounds can be absorbed through the skin when applied topically. It would accumulate in the body and may result in allergic reactions, skin irritation or worse, neurotoxicity.

What Harm Can Mercury Do to Us?

Chronic exposure and accumulation to mercury compounds can result in a variety of symptoms and adverse reactions. For an idea of the harmful symptoms of mercury overdose in cosmetics and skincare products, refer to the picture below.

It is highly advised for pregnant mums to avoid using products that contain mercury as mercury has a tendency to accumulate in one’s body. Its adverse health reaction may cause pregnancy complications and may increase the risk of development problems in infants. It is also easily transferred to infants, babies and, children through breastmilk, making them easily exposed to a higher risk of brain and nervous systems damage. 

Therefore, it is very important for them not to be exposed as their brains and nervous systems are still developing.

How do I know if my beauty products contain mercury?

When it comes to mercury, you have to be extra careful in beauty product that promotes skin lightening and anti-ageing. Look at the label and if the words “mercurous chloride”, “calomel”, “mercuric”, “mercurio” or “mercury” are listed on the label, then mercury’s in it. Then you should stop using the product immediately.

Safer options for skin brightening

Instead of mercury, our dermatologist has suggested Kojic Acid and Vitamin C for skin brightening. Kojic acid is a skin-lightener made by bacteria. Yes, no kidding. It’s a by-product of the fermentation process of rice that’s used for sake, the Japanese rice wine.

To illustrate how safe Kojic acid is, it’s in almost all Japanese food like soy, miso and strawberries. The Japanese believe it has antioxidant properties that help fight free radicals, the nasty molecules that give you wrinkles, dark spots and other ugly diseases.

Meanwhile, Vitamin C is the powerful antioxidant ingredient that helps reduce skin inflammation, irregular pigmentation and promotes healthy collagen production.

READ: Ingredient Month: Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin C in Skincare | myeppo.

Vitamin C is a key component to many skin-brightening regimens, as it interferes with pigment production and keeps inflammation at bay. Furthermore, Vitamin C may even help protect the skin from pre-cancerous changes from UV light exposure by neutralizing free radicals.

If you want to start with Vitamin C products, myeppo recommends GUINOT Firming Cream. It contains stabilised Vitamin C, which helps stimulate collagen synthesis and restores radiance to the complexion. When combined with Lift Firming Complex, your skin will get to feel that intense firming effect.

GUINOT Firming Cream
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More harm than meets the eye

Because of mercury’s adverse effects on consumers’ health, nearly 200 beauty products have been banned by Malaysian authorities since 2008. This is due to the fact that they contain unhealthy levels of mercury and other toxic ingredients such as hydroquinone, which is a bleaching agent. Malaysia only allows products to contain up to 1 parts per million, or ppm, of mercury. This is in line with the standard set by the WHO.

Would you like to know more about skin health? We are here to help! Skynfyx is run by a group of skin doctors and skincare experts who want everybody to achieve flawless skin at the cheapest possible cost. Skynfyx also can customize a skincare range just for your skin condition. For more details, visit SkynFyx – Digital Skin Doctor.

READ: Ask An Expert: All Your Skin Concerns Solved! | myeppo.

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