Skin-Lightening Products Found to Contain Mercury

Skin-Lightening Products Found to Contain Mercury

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is warning state residents to stop using some types of skin lightening products, after testing revealed that they may contain dangerous levels of mercury.

The implicated products were sold as skin-lightening agents, although they may also be used as skin-smoothing products. MDH tested 27 samples of the products, including 23 creams and four soaps.

Alerts and fact sheets

Tested products

In testing conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health, the skin creams pictured below exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's limit of no more than one part per million (ppm) of mercury in cosmetic products. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Skin-lightening products tested in other parts of the U.S. have also been found to contain mercury, and mercury may also be present in products that have not been tested.

See information below about untested products and disposal of products containing mercury.

Do not use these products:

Product and level of mercury detected
Skin lightening product

“Lemon Herbal Whiting Cream”
33,000 ppm

Skin-lightening products

Lulanjina – yellow cream
16,700 ppm (jar on right)

Lulanjina – white cream
12,800 ppm (jar on left)

Skin-lightening creams

Added 6/15/11

Crème Diana C.T.R. – 6,370 ppm (middle box)


Skin-lightening product Qian Mei – white cream
4,650 ppm
Skin-lightening product
4,600 ppm
Skin-lightening product Milk Cream
4,600 ppm
Skin-lightening products

Crème Diana C.T.R.
4,180 ppm (jar on left)

(product on right contained no mercury)

Skin-lightening product Qian Mei – yellow cream
3,540 ppm
Skin-lightening products

Jiao Li – container 2
1,700 ppm (jar on right)

Jiao Li – container 1
1,070 ppm (jar on left)

Skin-lightening product Cream Aghader
135 ppm
Skin-lightening creams

Added 6/15/11

Savon pour L'acné Diana soap – 31 ppm (left box)

Savon pour L'acné Diana soap – 4.08 ppm (right box)


NOTE: This chart only lists products tested by MDH and found to contain mercury. Not all skin-lightening products contain mercury, but products not listed here MAY ALSO contain mercury.

A wide variety of skin-lightening products is available, from many different sources, and it isn't possible to test all of them for mercury. For that reason, these products should always be used with caution. At a minimum, always make sure that:

  • the product you are using has an ingredients list and
  • mercury is not listed as an ingredient. Mercury may be listed under a number of different names, so check for anything that includes the words “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurous” or “mercurio.”

If you have skin care products that may contain mercury, take them to a Household Hazardous Waste site in your area. See the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website to find your HHW collection site.

Updated Monday, February 29, 2016 at 01:28PM