In a press statement released on 22 January, HSA has warned consumers to refrain from purchasing a traditional herbal tonic and a cosmetic product that consist of prohibited potent western medicinal ingredients.
The products have been tested and found to contain hydroquinone, tretinoin and dexamethasone, a potent steroid. Those products have led to serious adverse reactions, where one consumer suffered from facial chemical burns, and another was admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The products involved are Ure Tonic Herbal Traditional, that was purchased by a consumer from a traditional practitioner in Malaysia, and “unlabelled brown bottles of facial solution” known as RDL Hydroquinone Tretinoin Babyface Solution 3 from Anita iBrow beauty parlour.
More harm done due to inappropriate use of potent ingredientsTwo cases resulting from the misused of the products have been reported to the HSA prior to the press release.
A female consumer in her 50s has been taking Ure Tonic Herbal Traditional daily for more than a year, where she had gotten it to “strengthen her body”. However, “she developed Cushing’s syndrome, a condition caused by prolonged consumption of steroids,” HSA added.
She ended up experiencing persistent low-blood pressure and a weakened immune system – which led to pneumonia and sepsis – and is currently in the ICU undergoing outpatient care treatment.
In a separate case, a female consumer in her 20s came in contact with the facial solution when she visited Anita iBrow for a “make-up session”. The solution was first purchased from an online platform by the staff, which was then sold to customers as “magic water to brighten up her skin”.
She experienced “superficial chemical burns and skin peeling” after two to three days of application of the product, which darkened and caused redness and itchiness on her skin, and had to receive treatment by a skin specialist.
Consumers beware, sellers and suppliers warnedDexamethasone – which was found in Ure Tonic Herbal Traditional – and hydroquinone and tretinoin are medicinal ingredients that should only be used “under strict medical supervision”. Inappropriate use of these products will cause harmful effects to the body, as advised by the authorities.
“Discontinuation of steroids without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure,” stated HSA in their press release. Therefore, consumers who have taken Ure Tonic Herbal Traditional are advised to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Consumers are also advised to “stop using any unlabelled facial solutions supplied by the Anita iBrow beauty parlour immediately” and to see a doctor if he/she is experiencing adverse effects.
“Be cautious when purchasing health products from unfamiliar sources, even if they are recommended by friends or relatives,” advised the HSA, as it cannot be certain what the products are made out of and how they were made.
“Avoid buying or using unlabelled health products and be wary of products that promise quick and miraculous results,” the authorities cautioned. “Such products may contain harmful ingredients which can cause serious health effects.”
Sellers and suppliers of the products are warned to stop the sales immediately, or be liable to prosecution, "and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to SGD100,000."
The public is also urged to contact the HSA if they come across any information regarding the sale and supply of the aforementioned illegal products. MIMS
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