Injectable products are becoming a popular alternative for those desiring to alter their skin color for the purpose of lightening or whitening their complexion. Despite the popularity of these products, they have yet to be FDA-approved (Food and Drug Administration) and are considered to be unsafe for use. These products are also believed to not have a significant effect on altering skin color.

One FDA representative noted that injectables contain mystery substances that may be extremely harmful to one’s body. Also, because no one knows how these injectables are made, it adds to the uncertainty of their safety.

A Costly Promises

Like most skin brightening and whitening products on the market, injectables promise to even skin tone, remove blemishes and lighten skin tone. You can find these products online and in some retail and health stores. Most products come with instructions on how to inject the product under the skin, in a vein or in a muscle. However, most people fail to realize that while these products are being marketed, they are not approved as safe by the FDA. Some injectable products claim to treat conditions like Parkinson’s or liver disease, which is also not able to be proved or verified by the FDA. Because it is not known how these products are made, no one can vouch for the safety of these products.

What Consumers Should Do

If you are having adverse reactions to using an injectable product in the past, contact your health care provider immediately.

Also, contact your health care provider if you want to try a safer way to deal with your skin problems (like melisma or hyperpigmentation). That way, you can use a topical product that is known to be approved by the FDA.

Unlike the injectable products for skin condition, FDA-approved drugs are verified to be safe and effective in doing their intended purpose. Also, if a product is FDA-approved, the manufacturer has also meet specific qualifications that verify the product was produced in a safe way.

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Regardless of your skin type, you need to use products that do more benefit to your skin than harm. While shopping for your ideal beauty product, take heed to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warning about lotions, skin creams and soaps that have mercury.

What is the best way to determine if a cosmetic product has mercury—in particular those labeled as skin lightening or anti-aging? Just look at the label and see if you can find the terms mercury, mercuric, mercurio, calomel or mercurous chloride. If you see any of these terms in the product, then it means it has mercury, and you need to stop using it.

These products are usually sold as anti-aging products and skin lighteners that eliminate freckles, blemishes, spots and wrinkles. Some teenagers use products like these for acne.

The FDA’s Office Regulatory Affairs representative Jason Humbert claims these products are made overseas and are marketed illegally in the US.  Ethnic shops targeting Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern and African communities often sell these products. Social media sites and other online outlets also market these products. Some people buy these products overseas and bring them back to the United States.

You can’t just assume a product is okay if the ingredients are not listed. It’s against federal law to fail to disclose the ingredients of a nonprescription or cosmetic product. So if the product has no ingredients listed, it is highly recommended you do not use the product Also, don’t use products that have ingredients listed in another language because that’s also a sign of an illegally marketed product.

These products may be marketed as cosmetic products, but they are not FDA-approved.  The only time the FDA allows mercury to be used in a drug or cosmetics is when that’s the only alternative for an efficient preservative. However, this is not the case in these illegal products.

Injunctions, enforcement action, legal seizure of all merchandise, and criminal prosecution are possible consequences for distributors and sellers who market these products.

Mercury is dangerous

The negative consequences of using mercury go far beyond that of the person using the product. It also affects the entire environment where the product is used.

Mercury vapors can be inhaled that are released from the products. Also, people in the house can touch objects like towels or washcloths that have absorbed the vapors.  Pregnant women and women who are nursing are vulnerable to mercury poisoning because the mercury can affect the unborn baby’s brain and nervous system, and it can be passed on to breast milk if a mother is breastfeeding. Other populations, including young children may be highly vulnerable to mercury poisoning.