If you’ve always thought every product being imported to Singapore is safe to consume, then this might surprise you. Well, at least it does for me. The Health Science Authority (HSA) has recalled not one, not two, but eighteen products that have been imported into Singapore. Here’s a list of the products: \tBalleza Skincare night cream (contains mercury) \tBalleza Skincare treatment (contains hydroquinone) \tBrilliant Skin Essentials rejuvenating cream, rejuvenating facial toner exfoliant toner, whitening cream (contain hydroquinone and tretinoin) \tBrilliant Skin Essentials whitening facial toner (contains hydroquinone) \tDroplets of Nature rejuvenating cream lift and correct (contains hydroquinone and tretinoin) \tDroplets of Nature rejuvenating toner lift and correct (contains hydroquinone) \tGoree beauty cream with lycopene (contains mercury) \tKarisma Cosmetic skincare day cream and night cream (contain mercury) \tKarisma Cosmetic skincare treatment cream (contains hydroquinone and tretinoin) \tProfessional Skin Care Formula by Dr Alvin rejuvenating cream and rejuvenating toner (contain hydroquinone and tretinoin) \tSkin Magical rejuvenating cream and facial toner No 1 (contains hydroquinone and tretinoin) \tSpeaks G Skin Essential brightening rejuvenating cream and rejuvenating toner (contain hydroquinone and tretinoin) People who have these products at home are advised to stop using them immediately. If you’ve noticed, the key culprits here are mercury, hydroquinone and tretinoin. What harm does the ingredients do? We all know how harmful mercury is: it’s technically prohibited to be used in cosmetics as they could lead to rashes, skin discolouration and blotching. Long-term exposure would lead to kidney, digestive system and nervous system damage. And yeah, when we talk about mercury, we’re referring to the liquid found in the old-fashioned thermometers. Image: onlinetuition.com.my You won’t want to rub that on your skin, do you? Some countries have even banned the use of mercury-in-glass thermometers, and in most, they're no longer in use. Here's the shocker: some of the recalled beauty products have mercury level that’s more than 27,000 times the permitted level. The other two ingredients, hydroquinone and tretinoin, are strong ingredients used in western prescription medicines for treatment of skin conditions (i.e. only a pharmacist or doctor can prescribe). Usage of them without supervision from trained professionals could result in rashes and burning. Stores carrying these products have been ordered to recall them, and online stores have also been told to remove them from their listing. HAS added, "Be cautious when purchasing cosmetic products online or from unfamiliar sources, even if they are recommended by friends or relatives. You cannot be certain what these products contain, and where and how they were made. It is advisable to buy such products from reliable and reputable sources such as registered pharmacies or established retail stores, and their respective e-commerce platforms. They also told us to be wary of products that “promise quick and miraculous results or carry exaggerated claims such as skin whitening within a short period of time.” "Such products may contain prescription medicines which should only be used under medical supervision, or contain dangerously high levels of toxic substances such as mercury that may harm you.” People who import any product into Singapore need to declare the ingredients. In this instance, it was an issue of undeclared ingredients. HSA will do regular product quality surveillance activities where health products marketed locally are sampled for testing. And here, they discovered the undeclared ingredients. Now you know what Singaporeans are talking about today; do check back tomorrow for another piece of news of the day!