Image caption YouTubers Mariam Omotunde and Arlene Dihoulou employed skin-lightening cream when they were younger, without knowing about the health repercussions

High Street stores that were prosecuted for selling illegal skin-whitening creams are continuing to do so, the BBC has determined.

Trading Criterion acknowledged “it’s a really big problem” and more could be done to regulate the industry.

Substances containing hydroquinone and mercury are prohibited from being sold over-the-counter in the UK as they can cause liver, nerve and foetal damage.

But a lack of resources and data is attaining their own problems hard to tackle.

A previous BBC investigation disclosed the banned cosmetics were being sold across the UK.

Trading Criterion is responsible for seizing the creams and prosecuting industries that sell them. However, it appears convicted store owneds are undeterred by these fines, and are continuing to sell the products.

Watch the BBC Stories investigation on iPlayer Media captionUndercover journalists purchasing an illegal skin-whitening product Image caption Funbeaut-A is was sold to undercover BBC reporters in a store in Manchester. It contains hydroquinone, which cannot be sold over-the-counter in the UK Media captionSafi George used the products for more than 10 years. She was hospitalised for a week from the effects Media captionArlene, 22, employed illegal products when she was younger without realising

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