ibnlive » Health

Jun 14, 2012 at 11:01am IST

Fairness creams can lead to kidney damage: report

New Delhi: The fairness creams and soaps may promise you a fair skin but a new study now warns of dangerous side-effects, like kidney damage.

In a blow to India's 2000 crore industry, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report has warned of serious side-effects of using fairness creams and products in India.

The report finds that skin lightening soaps, creams and cosmetics like eye make up, which contain mercury as an ingredient or a preservative can cause kidney damage, anxiety, depression, damage to the nerves, and lower skin's resistance to infections.

Carolyn Vickers, Chemical Safety at World Health Organisation, says, “Mercury in soaps and creams eventually enters waste water and then enters the food chain as highly toxic methyl mercury.

Dr Sarika Chandra, Internal Medicine, says, “The most common problem is skin rashes, swelling of the skin, irritation. Once it gets absorbed into the skin and enters into the blood stream, the complications are worse. There is a whole range of kidney problems. Nervous system too is affected. It could also lead to seizures, numbness, pain tremors, memory loss, or could be fatal.

It’s not always listed on the packaging but you could look for names like Mercury, mercuric iodide, mercurous chloride, ammoniated mercury, and amino chloride of mercury, quicksilver, cinnabaris or mercury iodide.

The warning is particularly important for Indians where this is a roughly Rs 2000 crore industry, and fairness is often, as we know, of great inspirational value.