Skin-whitening creams and their constituent ingredients are heavily restricted under EU cosmetic regulations. Illegal creams containing hydroquinone and mercury should not be sold without prescription and can result in serious health issues including irritation, discolouration, thinning and scarring of the skin; kidney, liver or nerve damage; and abnormalities in newborn babies if used during pregnancy.
A recent BBC investigation has found numerous instances of these illegal products on sale in the UK - putting consumer health at risk. The BBC article is available here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ uk-45085674 - .
MSL act as Responsible Person for thousands of cosmetic products - ensuring they are safe to be placed on the market. If a consumer is unsure about the safety of a skin-lightening cream the most sensible option is to only use products prescribed by a medical professional. If buying directly from a retailer avoid products containing hydroquinone, corticosteroids or mercury - or those with no ingredients listed on the pack.