The Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has recently put out several announcements regarding products that have found to contain “potent ingredients” that users should be wary of. What are “potent ingredients”, you may wonder. According to HSA, these are chemical ingredients found in cosmetic products that will cause you harm or even permanent damage through long-time use, or even just short-term exposure.

Beauty products containing “potent ingredients”

1. Sheesha Beauty Cream

The Sheesha Beauty Cream is a skin whitening product that originates from Pakistan. It makes huge claims that sound too good to be true: fight acne, under-eye dark circles, as well as any wrinkles and blemishes in your skin. This product has been flagged out because it contains Mercury.

2. RODIS White Secret Lightening Body Cream/Lotion

A lotion produced in Lome, Togo, it claims to lighten your skin in just five days. This product has also been said to have a strong smell, and has limited information disclosed by the manufacturer, which is a red flag. This product contains Hydroquinone, a fairly common potent ingredient.

3. Caro White Lightening Beauty Cream (500ml), Lightening Oil (50ml), Body Lotion (500ml)

Credit: Lazada

These three Caro White Lightening products claim to help to lighten and brighten your skin, while also removing hyperpigmentation, acne, stretch marks, sunburn, and age spots. All these products have been flagged by HSA for containing Hydroquinone.

4. Carotone Lightening Body Lotion (550ml), Black Spot Corrector (30ml)

Credit: Shopee

Similarly, these two Carotone lightening products have been flagged for containing Hydroquinone. This ingredient has potential harmful side-effects, and should never be used without medical advice, and definitely not in a cosmetic product.

5. Boo Jin Brightening Day & Night Cream

Credit: Boo jin Day & Night Cream on Facebook

This cream make a lot claims, from reducing blemishes to pore refining benefits. However, this product contains Mercury.

6. Brilliant Skin Essentials Whitening Facial Cream


The Brilliant Skin Essentials Whitening Facial Cream claims to help whiten your face, reverse any signs of ageing, maintain skin suppleness, and reduce wrinkles. But just take their words at face value. The cream contains Tretinoin and was actually banned for sale in Malaysia due to this ingredient.

7. Deluxe Beauty – Ultra Lightening Cream Pearl Perfect Fairness


This moisturising product claims to repair your skin, remove blemishes, reduce the appearance of dark spots and give you radiant skin. These claims may sound attractive but it contains Mercury.

8. Skin Revolution – Acne Clearing Solution

This Acne Clearing Solution by Skin Revolution claims to help to balance your oils, shrink pores, remove acne while also making your skin delicate and white. However, this product contains very dangerous ingredients, such as Clindamycin and Metronidazole, which are both ingredients that should not be used without medical advice.

9. Thai Beauty Cream for Night Use

Credit: Shopee

By just looking at the ingredient list, you may find that this cream contains good ingredients such as vitamin B3 and Aloe Vera, which are known to help with skin repair. The product also sees positive reviews online. However, it is pertinent to note that it has been flagged for containing Mercury.

10. Skin Magical Rejuvenating Set 3 – Rejuvenating Cream No. 3

This product claims lots of whitening and anti-ageing benefits. But you should also note that it contains Hydroquinone, which is dangerous to use.

11. Deeja Cosmetic Yulai Cream

Credit: Deeja Cosmetic Hq on Facebook

Released by Malaysian brand Deeja Cosmetic, this Yulai Cream is marketed to those who want to prevent acne and remove scars. It has been flagged for containing Hydroquinone.

12. Deeja Cosmetic Laila Cream

Credit: Deeja Cosmetic Hq on Facebook

From the same company as the Yulai Cream, the Laila Cream claims to have blemish-removing properties. However, HSA marked this product as dangerous as it contains Betamethasone 17-valerate and Mercury.

13. MUA MAKEUP ACADEMY Professional Trio Eyeshadow

Credit: nicolish

This trio eyeshadow palette may look like the usual ones you get from the stores. However, they have been highlighted by HSA for containing Lead.

What do these potent ingredients do?

  • Mercury is a toxic substance and Singapore’s HSA warns that using creams with mercury regularly could lead to rash, skin discolouration, and blotching. Using products with high levels of mercury could even cause toxic effects to your kidneys, digestive, and nervous systems as they are absorbed through your skin. This could ultimately lead to organ damage.
  • Hydroquinone is a rather potent ingredient that is used in prescription medicines for skin conditions. This ingredient is actually prohibited from use in cosmetic products, as it could result in changes in skin colour and even cause reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling, and burning of the skin.
  • Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections, and can cause hypersensitivity reactions such as skin rashes and urticaria. It can also cause severe skin reactions such as toxic epidermal necrolysis, severe stomach pains, changes in bowel habits, watery or bloody diarrhoea, and renal dysfunction resulting in little or no urination.
  • Metronidazole can also cause similar hypersensitivity reactions, and can cause severe skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and even fungal superinfections with inappropriate long-term use.
  • Tretinoin is an ingredient used in prescription medicines, and long-term use of products containing it could lead to redness and peeling of the skin.
  • Betamethasone 17-valerate is a steroid. Long-term use of an oral steroid without any proper medical advice can lead to high blood pressure, cataracts, an increased risk of infections, and even Cushing’s syndrome, which causes your body to make too much of the hormone cortisol over time.
  • Lead is a toxic substance, and while it was used in makeup products centuries ago, we now know better to avoid it. Use of products with lead can cause poisoning as it builds up in the body over months or even years, causing long-term harm such as kidney damage and increased risk of high blood pressure.

Advisory: What should you do with these products?

HSA has shared an advisory, urging consumers to avoid these products. Some of them may be available in local markets but most are available online and abroad.

Here are other tips you can take note of when purchasing beauty products from unconventional sources.

  • Exercise caution if you’re unfamiliar with the brand, especially when it comes to health and beauty products, even if friends and family have recommended them. Despite their well-intentions, it can be dangerous as you do not know where these products have come from, and they could contain potent ingredients that could potentially cause you harm.
  • Only make purchases online from websites with an established retail presence. Be extra careful when looking at products that promise quick and “miraculous” results, or products that have exaggerated claims such as being “100% safe”, “no side effects”, or being “scientifically proven”.
  • If it seems too good to be true, it usually is, so take such claims with a pinch of salt.
  • Consult a family doctor or dermatologist if you have pressing beauty concerns that you’d like to address.
  • If you have purchased any of the above-mentioned products, stop using them right away, and visit a doctor if you are feeling unwell.

You can click here to learn more about the dangers of buying products from suspicious sources.