Undercover Officers Find Dangerous Substances in Skin Cream

London - UNDERCOVER trading standards officers have found skin products with dangerous substances available over the counter at five out of six shops they tested in East London.

They found Crusader skin lightening cream being sold to the public containing hydroquinone, which has been banned from all products except hair dye since January, 2001, because of serious side-effects.

Trading standards officers this week issued a public warning about hydroquinone, which is used to lighten dark areas such as freckles and liver spots.

Short-term symptoms include extremely itchy skin and burning, often leading to scars. Long-term use can damage internal organs and result in liver and kidney failure.

Crusader cream was also found to contain dangerous levels of mercury.

Both hydroquinone and mercury suppress the skin's production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour.

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