If you’re anything like me and mildly obsessed with Asian beauty products, you’re likely also always concerned about what’s actually in the stuff you’re slathering all over your face.
Enter Allure to confirm our worst fears: apparently dangerous levels of mercury have been found in skincare products being sold on Amazon and eBay. Lovely.
According to Allure, mercury has been found in creams claiming to be able to lighten or bleach the skin, fade dark spots and fine lines, and also as a preservative. Products produced in the U.S. are fine, since we have laws about acceptable levels of mercury (though is any mercury really acceptable?), but consumers should be particularly vigilant about things purchased from Asia and the Middle East. Where the things I love are made.
According to the story, the only way to make sure the stuff we’re buying is safe is to check the ingredients, but that logic seems flawed to me; if products are being produced in other countries, are they required to label products accurately? Would they really tell us that we’re buying poison? I suspect not. I know that mercury has been in cosmetics for centuries, but it also causes kidney damage, anxiety, depression, skin irritation and psychosis. This is scary stuff. There’s a reason Elizabethan women had pale white skin and short lives.
They also say that products with high levels of mercury will look grey, since that’s what color mercury is, but I don’t necessarily want to rely on the color of my products to determine whether or not they’re safe. It seems like another flawed detection method; how grey does it need to be to be considered dangerous? Should we be tossing any k-beauty product that’s even slightly greyish?
The companies I normally purchase products from, like Shiseido, Mizon, Face Shop and Innisfree, are reputable companies and I like to think that they don’t want to poison me, but how can I be sure? I’ll likely continue to use products made in Asia and sold on Amazon, but I’ll likely think twice about trying new stuff from brands I’ve never heard of.