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New campaign urges online sellers to be aware of illegal beauty products

Sophie Smith
25 April 2024

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is calling for online marketplaces to better monitor their offerings as it issues a warning about dangerous and illegal cosmetic products sold online.

Through a new campaign called #CostofBeauty, the UK-based company aims to raise awareness about the safety issues associated with three cosmetics and personal care products.

As part of this, the CTSI has cautioned that professional UV gel nail and L&P (liquid monomer and polymer powder) nail systems are being used by consumers at home. These treatments use chemicals known as acrylates, which can cause allergies to develop and result in skin damage and lifelong side effects.

To reduce the risk of developing an allergy, the not-for-profit organisation urges that these UV gel nail treatments should not come into contact with the skin and should only be administered by trained salon professionals using proper lamps.

In addition, the campaign highlights that it is illegal for at-home teeth whitening kits to contain more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching agents that release hydrogen peroxide, as these products can cause burns and damage to gums.

It comes as teeth whiteners bought from online marketplaces have been found to contain illegal and dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide, in as much as 300 times the safe, legal limit.

The CTSI is also shining a light on the dangers of skin lightening products that contain dangerous banned ingredients, including hydroquinone, mercury, and licensed medicines like corticosteroids.

It emphasised that creams containing these harmful substances are illegal to be sold in the UK and Europe because of the damaging side effects that can occur from prolonged use.

Christine Heemskerk, Lead Officer for Product Safety at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: "Cosmetic products should attract compliments, not complications. These dangerous goods can leave consumers with serious life-long side effects.

"Trading Standards will remove these products from sale and take action where needed, but online sellers need to take responsibility for the goods available for sale on their websites.

"Turning a blind eye is not an option when dealing with people’s health. Online marketplaces can and must do better."

Founded in 1881, the CTSI describes itself as one of the world’s longest-established organisations dedicated to the fields of trading standards and consumer protection in the UK.

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