When it comes to beauty, everybody loves a good deal, and with that, there’s the sudden influx of new customers into black market hotspots. Similarly, there has been the mushrooming of cunning businessmen into streets, local retail shops and reputable online stores, eager to exploit clueless buyers at whatever cost. About 50% of these products stem from illegal manufacturers in China, this is according to Bob Barchiesi, president of the trade organization, International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. These people will stop at nothing just to make that extra dollar.
Research done by leading organizations such as Staffordshire Scientific Services has shown traces of carcinogenic elements not to mention heavy metals such as lead in random samples of the products taken from the black market. These, evidently bring about a plethora of health issues to the consumer, and in some cases, have proven to be lethal. Counterfeited products include popular lipstick colors Ruby Woo and Spice from MAC Cosmetics.
Here are some of the leading shockers from this recent discovery, hoping this will be an eye-opener for those fashion lovers who just can’t help but go for the easy and cheapest way around beauty products and procedures.
15 Skin Lighteners
Indeed, that lightening cream you completely adore and cannot live without could be the reason behind your next doctor’s appointment.
Studies conducted have shown the presence of prescription-strength steroids such as clobetasol propionate and hydroquinone. Hyprogel use, under medical supervision, can be tolerated by the body but in extreme amounts subjects the user to health problems. Some creams also contain mercury.
A known brand that has been found to be victim to the counterfeiters is French based Fair and White cream. Recorded side effects of the above drugs include skin thinning, hypertension, severe acne and stretch marks.
14 Mascara and Eyeliners
Paint strippers and nail varnish remover have been some of the shocking substances detected in knockoff mascaras and liquid eyeliners. You might just want to hold that thought for a moment before purchasing the cheap version of your favorite liner or mascara.
Popular Bad Gal Lash Mascara by Benefit (counterfeited) has been found to contain traces of copper, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead. MAC Kohl eyeliner and Benefit Eye Bright pencil, have also fallen prey.
Adverse effects include organ and nervous system failure due to the heavy metals presence and psoriasis, vomiting, swelling, acne and allergies on a lighter scale.
Knockoff leading lipstick labels have also been found to contain worrying levels of lead with up to 3.06 -7.19 ppm i.e. parts per million. That cheap and ravishing lip color might prove to cost you much more than what you had budgeted for. Heavy metals are notorious for cancer, including organ and tissue damage that is sometimes irreversible. Affected brands include Revlon, Cover Girl and L’Oreal.
12 Fake Eyelashes
According to consumerreports.org, the glue and solvent used when attaching these loved lashes by women worldwide, in some cases have formaldehyde and rubber latex which can cause eye infections, itchiness or irritation on the eyelids due to allergic reactions. Added to this, the continual application and removal of these, can lead to permanent eyelash loss and thinning, quite ironic, you might want to pay a bit more for the real products and avoid these issues.
11 Mineral Based Makeup
Traces of mineral elements such as mica have been found in counterfeited makeup products. Microparticles of these, say from blushers and powder foundations when inhaled, over a prolonged time frame are the causes of underlying lung infections and can be cancerous not only to the skin but other body organs too.
10 Artificial Nails
Graceful fingers and nails are any woman’s dream. It’s no mystery why countless women are embracing this art. However, some of these products have been associated with formaldehyde basing. Inflammation and thinning of nail beds are some of the allergies reported from the use of counterfeit gel and acrylic nails.
The destruction of the nail matrix in some cases has led to nail loss; also, some of them contain methyl methacrylate, a compound responsible for respiratory infections. Apart from nail damage, other side effects include nose and throat infections and in some extreme cases, permanent numbness at fingertips.
9 Implants and Botox Injections
Black market implants and botox injections have gained popularity among women and men worldwide. This is despite evident and shocking reports of such side effects as:
• Permanent disfiguration and tissue death• Nodules• Blindness• Formation of blood clots• Skin complications,e.g. inflammation and Breathing difficulties
The procedures are done irresponsibly with implants being bought online from illegal markets at negligible prices. Some death cases have also been reported due to the body’s inability to cope with the implants.
8 Hair Extensions
Human hair extensions and weave caps sold cheaply on the black market can be extremely dangerous. If purchased and performed by the wrong person, side effects can lead to hair loss and infections as the conditions under which the procedures are done can be at times unsanitary. A simple uncalculated trip to any unauthorized beauty agent could actually leave you bald, and sometimes permanently!
It is no rumor, some illegal manufacturers are actually using urine in perfumes as a stabilizer substitute.
So much for taking the perfume concept to another level. Despite being awfully unhygienic it is also obviously unhealthy causing skin rashes, acne, psoriasis and ocular infections. These perfumes also contain DEHP or Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate which is known to be lethal.
6 Slimming Pills, Diets, and Lotions
These are also a great cash cow for people seeking to milk money from desperate buyers both online and at retail stores. Tests conducted have proven the existence of plant estrogen in breast enlargement cookies. This stimulates the growth of breast tissues and has proven to be cancerous. Other health concerns raised by slimming medication include heart damage, primary pulmonary hypertension, and hallucinations.
If need be however, brands that have been tested to be safe include Methylcellulose and Orlistat.
5 Hair Straighteners
Getting rid of kinky hair is a common beauty concern for women. Hence, brands in the market promising instant and long lasting straight hair are registering millions in dollars.
Key to note however is the fact that some keratin based hair straighteners found on the black market have shown results indicating the presence of formaldehyde, which causes eye complications, skin irritation, allergic contact dermatitis and cancer e.g. of the nose and accessory sinuses after prolonged use.
4 Teeth Whiteners
For a pearly white smile, consumers may have to pay a huge price thanks to these counterfeit gurus. Generally, the allowed percentage of Hydrogen Peroxide that can be used in teeth whitening products is 0.1%. Any levels above this are considered illegal in most states and harmful.
However, some DIY over the counter teeth whiteners have percentages of up to 10%. Others have been found to contain Chlorine dioxide which corrodes the enamel exposing the teeth. This leads to sensitivity and gum irritation. In some cases, loss of teeth has also been recorded. Teeth whitening should be done at a reputable hospital or supervised by an experienced medical practitioner.
3 Spray Tans
A perfect tanned body has almost become an obsession for some. Sun baked skin being highly regarded as an asset.
What most don’t know is that some spray pills have been found to contain canthaxanthin, a color additive detected in tests done. Canthaxanthin has the potential to damage the liver and might even lead to liver failure. In addition, the UV rays associated with tanning have also been feared to be cancerous, with other effects cited including rapid aging and skin burns.
2 Nail Polish
Some counterfeited nail polish samples have been found to contain toluene, formaldehyde and dibutylphthalate.
These three trigger quite serious health issues among the users ranging from respiratory problems, cancer, impaired reproductive functions i.e. preterm delivery and underdeveloped babies, neurological impairments, allergic reactions, and skin irritations.
1 Skin Cleansers
While it’s recommended by specialists to regularly cleanse your skin, it is also important to be extremely careful when purchasing facial cleansers as some have been known to contain Sodium lauryl sulphate and Propylene glycol, both feared to be cancerous compounds.
Sad to say, most of these conmen are so good at their work it’s becoming quite difficult to spot the difference between the genuine and the fake beauty products. Telltale signs for you to look out for though include; sales location, the branding….could be shady with misspelled letters and a strange background color, also watch out for missing batch numbers. In some cases, the packaging could be poorly done too, for example, the caps or lids and the brushes in the case of mascaras could be slightly different from the original.If the price turns out to be too good to be true, with heaven sent discounts then it might also be a fake. Try confirming the prices from the official websites of the particular brand, say MAC Cosmetics but beware of fake URL addresses, yes, these exist too.