According to press reports the couple had been retailing the banned ingredients from their Peckham based cosmetic stores, Yinka Bodyline and Beauty Express Cosmetics, in South-East London and are said to have earned over £1 million from the skin creams.
Skin whitening agents are fast becoming desirable within the cosmetic industry, with the Chinese market leading the way for such products.
Alongside conditioning polymers and emollients, skin whitening products are said to demonstrate the continued highest growth rate in the Chinese beauty market, at more than 12 per cent each, which actually outpaces the overall growth for the industry.
With the ethnic minorities also thought to drive sales in the industry for skin whitening products in the UK. The couple, Yinka and Michael Oluyemi, were ordered to pay nearly £100,000 in fines after admitting to 10 charges of flouting medical and safety regulations between July and December 2005.
Both escaped a nine-month custodial sentence due to exceptional circumstances, with the Judge Nicholas Philpot stating, "the couple are hard-nosed business people determined to make money regardless of the danger to public health".
Previous official warnings and convictions did nothing to deter the couple from continuing to sell the banned substances, which contained the bleaching agent hydroquinone and prescription only steroids.
These products are known to irreplaceably damage health when taken in excessive quantities, with customers risking permanent skin and blood vessel damage and even infection after use.
However, the couple is not the first to be penalised for using banned ingredients in products. Large cosmetics manufacturer Proctor & Gamble were told to withdraw its SK-II range from shelves in China early last year.
There were fears that the products contained high levels of heavy metals, chromium and neodymium. However, the company worked hard to dispel the theory and the line was resumed later in the year.
It is now working hard to restore damage done to the company name during the hard period and is now hopeful its brand image has not been spoiled irrevocably.