Beware of skin whiteners and hair straighteners products manufactured outside the European Union which are still sold through unofficial channels!

Skin whiteners

If you have a naturally dark skin you should know that skin whiteners are potentially dangerous products because they may contain toxic substances; as for cosmetics legally marketed the problem does not arise, but beware of those products manufactured outside the European Union which are still sold through unofficial channels (on the Internet or under the counter in some shops).
The most hazardous substances used in whiteners/bleachers are mercury or other substances such as Cortisone that are authorized as medicines but not as cosmetics.

Hair Straighteners

If you have particularly kinky hair know that the hair straighteners that act by changing the natural shape of keratin, if purchased on official channels and fitted with a regular label, are safe; you must instead pay close attention to those imported frequently from non-EU countries, particularly to those from Brazil, which can pose a risk to your health if containing potentially dangerous substances, such as formaldehyde, in quantities exceeding the limits allowed by EU legislation.

The usage of whitening products / henna dyes It is common among the immigrant population. This usage is more prevalent among young people, especially graduates who buy cosmetics in the public markets.

The product knowledge occurs mainly through the Internet.

Many of these whitening products, beyond containing active ingredients such as Hg, Hydroquinone and corticosteroids, also contain a detectable level of toxic metals such as Cd, Pb and potentially allergenic metals such as Co, Cr and Ni.

Because European Directives prohibit the presence of these metals and only allow the use of hydroquinone in cosmetic products for nails, products that contain them and are available in our country containing are out of law.

Even for skin brighteners, what it is stated in the Regulation 1223/2009 cosmetic is valid: the ingredients present in Annexes III to VI of cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009 can be used to the restrictions (the ingredients in Annex II are prohibited), also other ingredients can be used, but only if competent people have estimated that the product, containing those crucial ingredients, is safe.

Sul sito ABC Cosmetici trovi una sezione dedicata alla sicurezza degli stiranti per i capelli.


Is Formaldehyde an harmful ingredient?

Formaldehyde is considered carcinogenic when inhaled in places where there is a high concentration of this substance in the volatile form (working environments).

It has nothing to do with cosmetics, where the concentration is always very low and the substance is not released into the air during usage of the product.

Therefore, formaldehyde is an ingredient that can be used in cosmetic products, as long as at concentrations required by law.

The use of low quantities has been shown to be safe since many years and several studies, so much that it is approved by all the cosmetics regulations, including the European Union and the US, which are certainly among the most stringent in the world.

Per approfondire:

Leggi l’OPINION ON α-arbutin (in inglese).

This post is also available in: Italian