Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Your make-up could be dangerous to your health

Published:Wednesday | May 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Fake beauty products containing rat droppings, human urine and toxic chemicals are flooding markets around the world, endangering the health of consumers, international law-enforcement agencies are warning.

In the United Kingdom (UK) alone, make-up, perfume, electrical hair stylers and sun cream are among the counterfeit goods police are warning the public against in a 'Wake up - don't fake up!' campaign.

The UK police are estimating that at least £90 million is spent every year on fake goods, and with the rise of online shopping, the production and sale of fake goods on the web is increasing.

Counterfeit beauty products in particular are becoming increasingly common and easily available on auction sites, online marketplaces, rogue websites and social media.

The police said stock images are also frequently used to deceive consumers into believing they are buying the real deal.

Laboratory tests have shown counterfeit perfume often contains poisonous chemicals, including cyanide, and even human urine.

Fake cosmetics such as eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss and foundation have been found to contain toxic levels of chemicals and harmful substances such as arsenic, mercury and lead.

All of these can cause allergic reactions, such as skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns.

Detective Superintendent Maria Woodall of the City of London Police said: "Many people don't know about the real dangers counterfeit beauty products pose to their health and so that is why this week we are urging the public to 'Wake up - don't fake up!'

"Beauty products are meant to enhance your features, however, the fakes can, in fact, do quite the opposite. Our general rule is; if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is."