A community leader is calling for better public information and for people to realise they are already ‘beautiful’ after almost 600 packets of a skin lightening cream were confiscated from Bucks shops over safety fears.
Bucks Trading Standards issued a warning about the products after 17 of the 24 samples tested were found to contain high levels of mercury.
The creams could damage users’ kidneys, skin and nervous system. They were found on sale in small shops across Aylesbury, Chesham and High Wycombe.
Former Aylesbury mayor Raj Khan said: “People are worried, there is a widespread usage, certainly in the Asian community that I know of.
“I would like to praise trading standards for doing their job, but now it is up to other agencies to get involved and make sure the message is made clear.
“It is one thing to confiscate the creams but its another thing to make sure everybody stops using them.
“I understand that shops that were selling it were doing so in good faith. There should be expert advice on posters in places like doctors surgeries so the public can get the information about the dangers of them.”
When asked if he supports the concept of a skin lightening cream, he said: “I think it’s a difficult area.
“Some people are lightening their skin, thinking that it makes them prettier. But I think beauty is inside us all, whatever colour we are.
“We are all beautiful, I think we are the perfect colours that God has created. I don’t think we need these kinds of decorations. We are all beautiful in our own right whatever colour we may be.”
The 600 confiscated creams are believed to have been made in Thailand and Pakistan. They each broke labelling regulations by not displaying where they were imported from.
Trading Standards officers are still investigating how they got into the country.
Team leader Gina Green said: “We are asking shop owners to stop supplying any skin lightening cream that does not have the name and address of an importer or manufacturer in the European Union.
“Shop owners are unaware of the dangers of such cosmetics. Most of them say they are selling the products in response to requests for them.”
Cabinet member for community engagement at Bucks County Council Martin Phillips said: “My concern is about the long-term effects on people who may not be aware that these creams may be harmful if they’re used over time.”
The seized creams that contained mercury include:
Brite Face Cream
Stillmans Skin Bleach Cream
Stillmans Freckle Cream
Due Whitening Cream
Wiana Whitening Cream