Determination of mercury in DIY and online skin whitening creams by cold vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (CV-AAS)

Date of Completion


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy


whitening creams, mercury analysis, CVAAS, Spectroscopy, Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy


Cosmetics are widely used in the industry to improve the physical appearance of individuals. Due to the high demands of these products, cosmetic companies have produced different form of products that are readily available today. One of them is skin whitening creams that are used by people who want to lighten their skin. The main ingredients of skin whitening creams include hydroquinone, steroids and even mercury. These are perceived to contribute to serious health concerns including skin discoloration, malfunctions of the nervous system and internal organs and an increase risk of cancer (Clare, 2015). Despite the hazardous effects of mercury, there are still whitening creams which include it as part of their ingredients available in the market. The aim of this research was to analyze the mercury content in skin whitening creams purchased from Shoppee and Lazada using USP 40-NF 35 Method I or Dithizone titration. Five (5) creams amongst the twenty (20) not tested and unregistered online available creams resulted positive on the preliminary titration. Five (5) creams amongst the 20 not preliminary titration. The top 3 creams 4, 12, and 15 with the highest among of mercury based on the dithizone titration were further determined quantitatively using CV-AAS. Results showed that the mercury level soft creams 4, 12, and 15 ere less than 1 pp, set by FDA in line with the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive. Due to the popularity of using skin whitening crams, a stricter marketing surveillance should be regularly implemented to monitor the products sold that do not comply to the FDA requirement. The results and findings of this study showed that skin whitening creams under test complied with the FDA requirement limit for Mercury.

First Advisor

Timothy Jay L. Bengala, RPh

This document is currently not available here.