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The Cost of Beauty

The Cost of Beauty

April 2024 :  The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has launched a new campaign to warn consumers about the potential dangers of using certain illegal and unsafe cosmetic products.

Arm yourself with the facts!

Join Our Campaign : #CostofBeauty

With more people opting to save money by doing their cosmetic treatments at home, CTSI is spotlighting the serious - even life-altering - effects that can happen when opting for illegal products, or when products are not administered by a trained professional.

We know that professional salon services can be very pricey. So, of course, it can be incredibly tempting to take matters into your own hands. However, attempting any of these treatments at home with unregulated, potentially counterfeit products is simply not worth the risk to your health and safety.

We've focused on 3 key areas :

1.  NAILS - UV Gel and L&P Nail kits

2.  SKIN - Skin Lightening Creams

3.  TEETH - Illegal Teeth Whitening kits.

REMEMBER : Just because it is for sale, it doesn't mean it’s safe!


1.  NAILS : Get Compliments, Not Complications!

UV Gel and L&P Nail Systems can cause allergic reactions and skin inflammation, if not applied correctly. These issues aren’t just confined to your fingertips, problems can occur anywhere the nail gel comes into contact with your skin - even on the face.

UV Gel nail treatments use chemicals known as acrylates, including HEMA (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) and Di-HEMA (trimethylhexyl dicarbamate). These can be allergens - and if you develop an allergy, they can cause skin damage and lifelong side-effects. 

To reduce the risk of developing an allergy, UV Gel nail treatments should only be administered by trained salon professionals using proper lamps. Some UV nail lamps sold online may not be suitable for the job they are advertised for and can lead to problems.

REMEMBER : Never buy products online that contain HEMA or Di-HEMA — they are illegal for home use! And, just because some products are ‘HEMA-free’, that does not mean they are safe if you have a HEMA allergy. Also, treatments that are advertised as ‘HEMA-free’ can contain other powerful acrylates.

Our downloadable resources :

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), which is the association representing cosmetics and personal care companies, has created a "Guideline on Artificially Enhanced Nails and Minimising the Risk of Allergy", which contains advice on how to minimise the risk of developing an allergy.



2.  SKIN : Skin-Lightening Sensibility

People use skin lightening products for various complex social and personal reasons. However, many of these products are illegal in the UK - and have been found to contain some very harmful substances.

Furthermore, illegal skin creams have not been safety-tested, there are no guarantees that they were made in sanitary conditions and they offer no assurances that they are safe to use.


REMEMBER : Illegal skin lightening creams can cause conditions like acne and eczema. They can also result in permanent disfigurement and serious long-term health problems.

Know what you’re buying . . .

Some skin-lightening creams are legal, but many are banned because of their harmful ingredients. These dangerous banned ingredients include hydroquinone, mercury and licensed medicines like corticosteroids. Creams containing these substances are illegal in the UK and Europe for safety reasons.

REMEMBER : Skin-lightening creams illegally being sold in the UK have been found to contain twice the amount of active steroid ingredients that are allowed in prescription products.

What can you do to STAY SAFE?

  • NEVER use skin lightening products without discussing them with your dermatologist or doctor first - they will advise a safe course of action that's right for you.
  • NEVER use illegal skin lightening products purchased from shops or over the internet.
  • NEVER use skin lightening products on children!
  • ALWAYS read the label - cosmetic products for sale in the UK must display the manufacturer or importer’s name and address, and their ingredients.

Our downloadable resources :

More information about how to identify illegal skin lightening products can be found at the following link from the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA): https://www.thefactsabout.co.uk/how-skin-lightening-works



3.  TEETH : Nothing to Smile About!

Illegal teeth whitening kits for home use can cause burns and damage to gums. Make sure you know what you are buying - and who you are buying from. Always do your research, and always check the label. All teeth whitening kits for sale in the UK must display a UK-based manufacturer or importer’s details. 

However, the best teeth whitening results will be achieved by visiting a registered dentist or dental hygienist working to a dentist’s prescription - with access to safe and effective teeth whitening products.

REMEMBER : It's illegal for teeth whitening procedures to be carried out by hair salon or a beauty salon. Rogue salons face tough legal penalties, and their customers risk serious pain and disfigurement.

Know your limits . . . 

Teeth whitening products administered by dentists, have a legal limit of 6% hydrogen peroxide. Whereas teeth whiteners bought from online marketplaces have been found to contain illegal and dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide. Some products found for sale online have been found to contain up to 300 times the safe, legal limit of hydrogen peroxide.

REMEMBER : It is illegal for teeth whitening kits sold for home use to contain MORE than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, or other bleaching agents that release hydrogen peroxide.

Our downloadable resources :

More information about how tooth whitening kits and products work, and the rules for legal products, can be found at the following link from the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), the association representing cosmetics and personal care companies: https://www.thefactsabout.co.uk/tooth-whiteners




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