Skin fear forces cosmetics recall

Japanese cosmetics maker Kanebo has announced a recall of 54 skin-whitening products throughout Asia after receiving complaints that they caused skin discoloration.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Japanese cosmetics maker Kanebo has announced a recall of 54 skin-whitening products throughout Asia after receiving complaints that they caused skin discoloration.

The Kanebo agent in Hong Kong yesterday stopped the sale of 11 products, including the popular Blanchir series.

Skin-whitening products are popular among many Asian women who want a lighter skin tone.

The cosmetics being recalled contain a substance called 4HPB or Rhododenol, which was developed exclusively by the company.

"Some consumers complained that they developed white patches on their skin after using the products, and we suspect a link between the condition and 4HPB," a company spokeswoman said.

Agent Tung Fang Mei Enterprise said it immediately suspended the sale of nine Kanebo products, as well as two more sold under the brand name RMK, which is part of Kanebo.

Up to yesterday, no complaints had been received from local customers.

Nevertheless, those who have bought the products concerned may exchange them for other items of similar value until August 10.

In Japan, the company has received 39 complaints from customers.

Fifteen claimed there was no improvement in their condition even after they stopped using the products.

The company has shipped a total of 4.36 million products in Japan and is recalling 450,000 that have already been sold to consumers, as well as all inventories from the domestic market.

It will also recall products that are on sale abroad. A total of 370,000 items have been sent to overseas markets.

The recall affects Japan and 10 Asian markets, namely Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, the Philippines and Vietnam. Taiwan is the company's largest overseas market.

"The problem was initially thought to be a type of skin disease, but there was a growing concern [that it could be linked] to 4HPB," the Kanebo spokeswoman said.

Customers who have questions can call Kanebo at 3101-9232 and RMK at 3101-9237.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE and GISELLE CHAN