Avoid Unlabeled Skin Creams, Says Health Unit

Recent Mercury Poisoning Investigation Prompts Warning

The local health unit is warning against artisanal skin creams, after investigating a case of mercury poisoning.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit points to unlabeled products marketed as skin lighteners, anti-aging, or acne care as ones to avoid, especially if obtained from out-of-country. Officials say the products could contain harmful ingredients and should be avoided.

“People need to be aware that out of country artisanal or unlabeled cosmetic skin creams marketed for skin-lightening, anti-aging or for the treatment of acne may contain unsafe and potentially toxic ingredients, including high concentrations of mercury,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s medical officer of health. “Travel and the abundance of online shopping platforms make it easy for people to access cosmetic and skin products that are restricted for use in Canada because they are unsafe.”

The SMDHU says people can keep themselves and their family safe by:

  • avoiding purchasing artisanal cosmetic products marketed as skin-lightening, anti-aging or for treatment of acne when travelling outside of Canada, or on online marketplaces
  • reading the ingredient lists on skin care products, and
  • immediately discontinuing the use of any suspicious skin care products.