The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use certain illegally sold skin creams and beauty and antiseptic soaps or lotions because they contain mercury, which is toxic.
Products are marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove freckles, blemishes, age spots and wrinkles. Adolescents also use the products as acne treatments. Manufactured abroad, the products have been found on store shelves in at least seven states predominantly in Latino, Asian, African or Middle Eastern neighborhoods and online.
The FDA is advising consumers to check the labels of any skin-lightening, anti-aging or other skin products. If there is no label or no ingredients are listed, do not use the product. Stop using the product if it contains mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio or mercury. Thoroughly wash hands and any other parts of the body that have come in contact with the product, and contact a health care professional for advice.