Using beauty products containing arsenic and lead can lead to chronic poisoning. While modern beauty products have fewer of these harmful ingredients, steroids and mercury are still commonly found in them. What effects do these ingredients have on the body?
Even in developed countries like the UK, there have been cases of problematic beauty products. A few years ago, The Guardian reported that a skin lightening cream contained high doses of the highly toxic steroid clobetasol propionate. In Taiwan, a “Sensational Toner” was found to have steroids after miraculously improving the user’s skin condition, even curing acne.
Steroids have anti-inflammatory properties and are used to treat skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis. Long-term use can cause skin degeneration and thinning, increased microvascular growth, decreased skin resistance, and a risk of skin infections, which can cause permanent damage. Unscrupulous beauty product manufacturers don’t label steroids as ingredients, making it easy for people with sensitive or inflamed skin to use the product temporarily. However, after long-term use, consumers may find spider veins (telangiectasia) on their cheeks before seeking medical attention, which can be too late.
Mercury is known as the “poison for melanocytes” because it inhibits melanocytes, lightening the skin. Therefore, some skin lightening products illegally add mercury to increase effectiveness. Long-term use of such products can cause chronic poisoning, damaging the nervous system and kidneys. Due to the unique chemical properties of mercury, it can easily penetrate various tissue barriers in the body and circulate throughout the body. Both organic and inorganic mercury can be easily absorbed through the skin. Therefore, during certain physiological periods, women may not only harm themselves but also their unborn children. Such exposure can lead to poisoning and developmental delays in the child’s nervous system, affecting intelligence.
Despite periodic safety testing of beauty products, illegal merchants still add harmful compounds such as lead and mercury to products such as lipsticks, mascaras, and skin lightening creams. Customs authorities periodically conduct safety tests on beauty products in the market and occasionally discover products with harmful compounds, warning citizens not to use them. These products are usually imported illegally from China, Southeast Asia, and other regions with less strict cosmetics regulations. While customs authorities regularly conduct testing, finding every problematic product is like finding a needle in a haystack. Consumers need to pay attention to product ingredients, sources, and reputations. Otherwise, using beauty products can easily turn into taking poison!