Ingredients banned overseas can be found in your skin care cream - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ingredients banned overseas can be found in your skin care creams

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Fade creams may cause stretch marks Fade creams may cause stretch marks
Fade creams can cause skin thinning Fade creams can cause skin thinning

Doctors warn against using skin-lightening or fade creams without first getting medical expertise. 

Dark acne scars and spots on the skin can be annoying to look at.

That is why many women turn to skin-lightening and fade creams to erase those troublesome areas. But, women may want to rethink their daily regimen.

Millions of women are using the creams every single day.

"One of the reasons that brought me to using fade creams was because I was in a car accident and I ended up having some scarring," makeup artist Zarielle Washington said.

Serious health problems linked to the misuse of these do-it-yourself creams are raising red flags for dermatologists like Dr. Purvisha Patel.

"Part of the treatment for this is using lightening agents or bleaching agents and most commonly on the market throughout history, we've used an ingredient called hydroquinone," Dr. Patel said.

Hydroquinone is banned in parts of the United Kingdom but low doses are legal in fade creams sold in the U.S. where it's most often used by aging women to decrease dark spots.

Long-term misuse of a lightening cream with topical steroids can lead to hypertension, thinning skin, elevated blood sugar, or stretch marks.

Dr. Patel joined us on Facebook Live to answer your skin care questions.

According to doctors, another red flag in skin care treatment is the mercury found in some mystery creams sold online, or without ingredients listed on the label.

Mercury poisoning can cause serious damage to the nervous system.

Washington grew up in Whitehaven, but her passion for cosmetics and skin care took her to New York as a professional make-up artist.

She said she's seen clients with permanent damage from skin lighteners.

"I'm definitely cautious and sometimes nervous about certain products and using them in regards to the face, because products recommended for the body are not always sensitive enough for the face," she explained. 

Dr. Patel said even over-the-counter products aren't always safe.

She offers her own patented line of skin creams she claims are free of toxins.

"The lighting agent or serums in both our lines, we have one that's safe for nursing and pregnancy, so we can use it for melasma and for the anti-aging line as well," Dr. Patel said. 

Washington suggests leaving spot treatment to the professionals.

"I think it's important to talk to your dermatologist before self-diagnosing or trying to do at-home remedies, because it really is important to understand the dangers that you're under when you're using these chemicals," Washington said.

The most common use for fade creams is to get rid of dark patches often triggered by pregnancy, menopause, or birth control pills, so do your homework. 

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