Counterfeit make-up may look like the original product on the surface, but patients need to beware of the imitations as they could pay dearly for this, health-wise. They may look prettily and neatly packaged but should not be judged by its surface as the contents may tell a whole different story.

Just like the real thing


The majority of counterfeit products hail from Beijing, China. Imitation bags, wallets, clothes and more look just as good as the real thing sold at an affordable price. The problem with buying these fakes namely boils down to supporting an illegal and unethical trade which costs the global economy hundreds of billions of US dollars annually. Health wise, using a fake Gucci bag tagged as “Gucky” or wearing a Burberry blouse tagged as “Blueberry” may not be harmful. Using counterfeit makeup, cologne or perfume and skincare products, on the other hand, poses significant health risks.

Harmful ingredients


A large reason why these products are sold at low prices is because the cost to manufacture them is cheap. These products do not undergo the same product testing and quality control that the original products do. This is how a lot of impurities as well as high heavy metal content seep into these products. A number of these products have been shown to have high level of arsenic, lead, cyanide and mercury. Besides chemicals, it was discovered that they also contained rat and even human excreta.

Due to unsanitary preparation of these products, bacteria such as Escherichia coli were discovered in these products as well. Make-up artists would call the face their canvass. Counterfeit makeup contains paint stripper and varnish bringing the face closer to an actual canvass. It is a common notion that as long as you do not ingest the product you cannot be harmed. Since these products come in contact with skin any impurity can be absorbed from there and into the system.

Health hazards


Every one likes to be frugal, but breaking the rules is not the solution. Health hazards associated with the use of these illegal products are as follows, so be sure to warn your patients if you notice any of the following:

1. Dermatitis: Scaling, drying or weeping can occur when applying these products. 

2. Conjunctivitis: This comes from applying counterfeit eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara or any other product that comes into contact with the eyes. This can come in the form of chemical conjunctivitis due to the unlabelled chemicals that found their way into the product, bacterial conjunctivitis due to the unsanitary preparation of the product, or allergic conjunctivitis.

3. Allergic reactions: Genuine products can cause these reactions as well because of certain chemicals the skin is sensitive to. Unlike genuine products, counterfeit products do not place on the label the actual chemical content.

4. Heavy Metal Poisoning: Depending on the duration of use and the amount of heavy metal in the product it can consequentially lead to this problem. Extended exposure to heavy metals has potentially harmful effects on the body leading to a wide range of organ damage such as the kidneys or even in the central nervous system.MIMS

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