Fairness Cream May Cause Severe Nerve Damage In Users (CDC Report)

A Mexican fairness cream that lightens skin with high mercury content has reportedly caused severe health damage in a California woman. CDC reports this skin lightening cream has severely affected her central nervous system.

This case study was published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

It took several weeks after the initial hospitalization to heal this damage. During this hospitalization, she was constantly fed through the tube so that she isn’t deprived of nutritional support. But the report suggests that she was unable to speak or take care of herself during all this time.

This alleged cream used a type of organic mercury which is called “methylmercury”. This methylmercury linked nerve damage case if the first-ever reported case of mercury poisoning in the USA in the last 50 years.

Dr. Paul Blanc from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) says that

“Most harmful skin lightening creams are intentionally tainted with inorganic mercury. But in this case, the patient used a skin-lightening product containing organic mercury, which is far more toxic.”

This organic mercury can cause extreme damage to a person’s central nervous system (CNS). And it continues even after the user stops using it. In this case, this woman first opted for medical help when she experienced involuntary muscle movement and general weakness felt in arms, shoulders, and back.

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But after only two weeks since she took this outpatient care, she started facing severe symptoms that included blurry vision, difficulty in speaking and breathing, unsteady gait and weakness. Her blood tests and urine test reports confirmed that her body is experiencing severe mercury poisoning.

The family of this patient informed the doctors that she has been using skin lightening creams from Mexico, two times a day for the last seven years.

The doctors recommended chelation therapy for her, it is a special treatment to heal the damages of heavy metal poisoning. But in this case, this therapy failed and didn’t show any improvement. Upon this, she was immediately transferred to UCSF. Here the detailed tests confirmed her fairness cream to contain methylmercury that has caused damage to her central nervous system.

In the news release from UCSF, Blanc says that;

“Central nervous system toxicity, as in this case, is the hallmark of organic mercury—it typically comes on after weeks to months of exposure. Once manifested, it quickly progresses and often worsens, despite the removal of any further exposure.”

He further adds that unfortunately, the typically effective treatment of mercury poisoning, chelation therapy has not shown any positive results in methylmercury poisoning. It leads to a need for developing new, modified treatment facilities for methylmercury poisoning cases in the future.

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Consumers can take several steps to protect themselves, said study

Dr. Craig Smollin, med-director at the “California Poison Control System’s San Francisco Division” says that the consumers also need to take necessary steps for protecting themselves from mercury poisoning. It is common to buy skin fairness creams without checking if the product has its protective foil seal intact under the lid or not.

He advises checking the seal before buying all such products. He also emphasizes on buying skin care products from reputed stores with labels mentioning ingredients inside the product. For the safe side, read the ingredients, search them if necessary, and also read the directions and warnings associated with that product.