Chinese Woman's Obsession With Whitening Creams Leads To Kidney Damage

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Mercury from certain skin whitening products can be absorbed easily by the skin and spread throughout the body, causing accumulation and unseen damage.

A Chinese woman, identified only by her surname Wang, was diagnosed with a kidney disease after using a skin whitening cream for two months, reported local media.

Skin whitening creams often contain prodigious amounts of mercury. The continuous use of such products for the pursuit of “the perfect complexion” often leads to mercury poisoning, causing extreme harm to the nervous system and the kidneys.

Wang reportedly received skin whitening treatment in a Nanjing salon. After regular use of the skin whitening cream products, she started experiencing memory loss and swelling in her arms and legs. Medical tests showed she had been exposed to dangerous levels of mercury and the toxic exposure had resulted in extensive damage to her kidneys.

Around the world — and especially in Asia, where fair skin is often considered synonymous to beauty — it is not surprising that despite tremendous hazards, cheap beauty products claiming to brighten complexion are soaring in popularity every day.

These products leave traces of mercury on the skin, which blocks the production of melanin, a pigment responsible for human complexion, thereby curbing the process of tanning. Mercury, emulsifiers and parabens from these products can be absorbed easily by the skin and spread throughout the body, causing accumulation and unseen damage.

According to the World Health Organization, mercury is one of the top 10 chemicals posing a major public health concern. Various countries have banned the use and production of skin-lightening products containing mercury, as it is extremely unsafe.

These products, usually fake, have been tested positive for various toxins but their availability in the market is yet to be contested.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Nir Elias, Bobby Yip, Reuters

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