A scary test from the Chicago Tribune shows that, of 50 skin lightening creams tested for a recent story, 6 contain illegal (and dangerous) levels of toxic mercury, which was banned in the US in 1990.
Five of the 6 products with mercury had enough to potentially cause kidney damage over time, according to the Tribune's expert.
To me, this is just one more piece of hard evidence that BEAUTY PRODUCTS MUST BE REGULATED. Who's watching out for your health right now? When a banned chemical is found in such a high percentage of products- at dangerous amounts- it should signal to you that you need to take a hard look at your products and start choosing a brand you trust with the mission of looking out for your health- as well as your beauty.
To be honest, I'm not a proponent of the brightening/lightening beauty trend in general. But skin lightening products are a tricky subject in beauty, since many cultures define beauty by light, even-toned skin.
If you are going to lighten, use a natural product that (true) will work more slowly and gently than a chemical lightener, but will not risk your health. I truly believe that whitening chemicals like hydroquinone are more harmful than we know. I've been advised by some experts that hydroquinone is safe, but I still side with The Green Beauty Guide, which cites a 2005 article from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology:
"Hydroqinone metabolites, p-benzoquinone and glutathione conjugates of hydroquinone 'also have the capability to disrupt protective mechanisms, whereby they facilitate further development of cancer. In the bone marrow, long-term effects such as aplastic anemia and acute myeloid leukemias may occur.'"
Hydroquinone has already been banned in the EU, Japan, Canada and France..so what are we waiting for? To be on the safe side, do not buy lightening products that include it!
Here are a few natural lighteners that will be safer options for those who lighten:
Aveda's Enbrightenment line- lightens with Vitamin C and mulberry extract, which inhibits melanin.
SukiSpa Targeted Bio-Brightening Face Serum- lightens with Vitamin C, licorice extract and arbutin.