Health & Fitness

Beware of mercury in skin-care products

Mercury was the Roman god of shopkeepers, thieves, tricksters and transporters of goods. Bingo! We’re not sure how all those centuries ago they knew what was going to be happening during the summer of 2016, but the Food and Drug Administration has caught thieves and tricksters illegally importing and selling goods (in this case various types of creams, soaps and lotions) laced with mercury.

They’re marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments to remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles. They sneak in from around the globe, targeting Asian, Hispanic and Middle Eastern communities. They’re also promoted online.

Often the products have no ingredients listed -- even no label. That should tell you something right there. But sometimes labels actually list mercury! Look for these words: mercurous chloride, mercuric, mercurio or just plain mercury.

The danger is that you’ll absorb mercury through your skin, and what accumulates can take decades to get rid of. That can trigger heart and neurological problems. If you’re nursing and use these products, you can pass mercury through your breastmilk! The mercury can quickly damage a baby’s developing brain and nervous system. Those skin products also produce mercury vapors, or you may leave residue on a towel and can make family members ill, too.

So, if you’re looking for good anti-aging treatments, try ours! Avoid the Five Food Felons, walk 10,000 steps a day, meditate for 10 minutes daily and sleep 7-8 hours a night. You’ll achieve a much younger RealAge, feel and look terrific with no harmful side effects!

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit