An association of local governments in the UK, called the LGA, has warned consumers about the use of some skin-lightening creams. The LGA discovered that some of the whitening cosmetics they tested contained banned ingredients and were thus illegal. However, they were available for purchase in UK stores. An LGA spokesperson said these ingredients could pose a serious threat to consumers' health. He said there has been an increase in the number of users experiencing health problems after using the creams. These include seizures, rashes and scarring. The spokesperson said the creams could increase the risk of skin cancer, and liver and kidney damage.
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The global skin-lightening industry is booming. In 2017, it was valued at an estimated $4.8 billion and is forecast to nearly double to around $8.9 billion in the next decade. Many people use it to reduce the darkness of the color of their skin. The LGA warned that "rogue retailers" were selling illegal skin-lightening lotions on which the label incorrectly listed the ingredients and omitted the illegal substances. The LGA said some illegal ingredients acted like paint stripper and could burn off the top layer of skin. It said: "Skin creams containing banned ingredients are very dangerous and could seriously damage your health, scar you for life and even kill you, so they should be avoided at all costs."