About the Skin Facts! Initiative
The FDA Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) launched Skin Facts! to raise consumer awareness about potentially harmful effects from the use of skin lightening products containing the ingredients hydroquinone or mercury. These products are often marketed to racial and ethnic minority groups to lighten or “even” skin tone and treat conditions like dark spots, acne, and wrinkles. Regular application can lead to skin rashes, facial swelling, skin discoloration, and even poisoning. The over-the-counter sale of skin lightening products containing hydroquinone or mercury is illegal, and consumers are advised not to use these products due to health risks.
Skin Facts! resources provide helpful tips for avoiding products that may contain hydroquinone or mercury. We encourage consumers to report bad reactions from the use of skin lightening products to MedWatch, the FDA’s medical product safety reporting program, and consult with their health care provider for prescription medication to treat skin conditions.
The Skin Facts! Toolkit includes a list of social media messages and graphics to share with your social media audiences. You can also find resources at OMHHE’s Skin Facts! page, including a public service announcement and educational materials.
How To Use This Toolkit
Share our messages and digital resources on social media. Copy and paste our Twitter and Facebook messages into your social media posts for your audiences. You can use our initiative messages with the downloadable digital images and videos based on your preferences.
Use the hashtag #FDASkinFacts to help promote the initiative. Also consider using the secondary hashtag #SkinLightening to connect with consumers who use these products.
Tag @FDAHealthEquity on Twitter to increase the reach of the initiative.
Follow us on social media! U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE)
Sample Social Media Messages Download Partner Toolkit
Whether they are called skin bleaching creams or skin “lighteners,” “brighteners,” or “eveners,” they all have the potential to contain harmful ingredients. Get the skin facts at: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts
The use of nonprescription skin lightening products containing hydroquinone may cause blue-black skin discoloration (also known as ochronosis). Get the skin facts at: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts #SkinLightening
Help @FDAHealthEquity spread the word about harmful ingredients in some skin products. FDA Associate Commissioner for Minority Health RDML Richardae Araojo presents #FDASkinFacts: https://youtu.be/bTl60JKxUSc #SkinLightening
Mercury is an odorless, invisible toxin used in illegal skin lightening products. Learn about the health risks of mercury and how to avoid exposure in skin lighteners: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts #FDASkinFacts
DYK? There are no legally marketed over-the-counter skin products containing hydroquinone. Learn about potential hydroquinone health risks at: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts #SkinLightening
Buyer beware! Skin lightening products sold over the counter may contain ingredients that can damage your skin and harm your health. Learn what to look for on product labels here: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts #FDASkinFacts
The FDA has identified the harmful toxin mercury in some skin products. Visit www.fda.gov/SkinFacts to learn how you can avoid health risks from mercury exposure. #FDASkinFacts
Cosmetics marketed to treat dark spots may contain mercury. Mercury is a harmful toxin that is absorbed through the skin and may build up in the body. Visit www.fda.gov/SkinFacts to learn how to avoid these products. #FDASkinFacts #SkinLightening
Skin products may contain mercury and can cause mercury poisoning. Visit www.fda.gov/SkinFacts to learn more about mercury poisoning and how to avoid dangerous products. #FDASkinFacts
DYK? Mercury is a harmful toxin found in some skin creams. Learn more about harmful ingredients in skin lightening products from FDA Associate Commissioner for Minority Health, RDML Richardae Araojo: https://youtu.be/bTl60JKxUSc. #FDASkinFacts #SkinLightening
Learn about the @FDAHealthEquity Skin Facts! Initiative to help educate consumers about the potential health risks of hydroquinone and mercury in skin products: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts
The FDA requires imported skin products to have labels listing their ingredients in English. Always check labels for potentially harmful ingredients like hydroquinone or mercury before buying. And get the skin facts at: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts #SkinLightening
Skin products marketed to correct uneven skin tone may contain harmful ingredients. Checking product labels is one way to stay safe. Learn how at www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts
What goes on your skin, goes in your body! Just like food labels, you should check the labels of skin products for harmful ingredients. Get the skin facts at: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts
Do you use skin products for “evening” your skin tone? Some of these products may contain ingredients that could harm your health. Learn more: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts #FDASkinFacts #SkinLightening
DYK? Some online websites sell skin products that are not FDA-approved for sale in the US. Learn how to identify and avoid illegal skin lightening products: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts. #FDASkinFacts
Do you know someone who uses skin lightening products? Share our resources on the potential health risks of products with certain ingredients that are sold online or in stores. www.fda.gov/SkinFacts #FDASkinFacts
We can’t assume that skin lightening products sold in stores or online are safe. Products may contain potentially harmful ingredients like hydroquinone or mercury. Be sure to check the labels! Learn more: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts #FDASkinFacts
A skin product containing hydroquinone can only be obtained through a prescription from a health care provider. Learn more: www.fda.gov/SkinFacts #FDASkinFacts
Digital Resources Download Partner Toolkit