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Dangers Of Using Counterfeit Makeup Products

By Stella Okemuo
07 November 2021   |   1:24 pm
Makeup is used by women all around the world to enhance their beauty. Makeup can be used to cover a scar, blemish, wrinkle, or any other skin concern. The makeup industry is worth billions of dollars globally and because of this, there are lots of counterfeit brands out there trying to get a piece of…

Makeup is used by women all around the world to enhance their beauty.

Makeup can be used to cover a scar, blemish, wrinkle, or any other skin concern. The makeup industry is worth billions of dollars globally and because of this, there are lots of counterfeit brands out there trying to get a piece of the money. Counterfeiters pay no heed to consumers’ safety and flagrantly ignore safety laws and regulations. The high rates of influencer marketing through social media has no doubt played a crucial role in the high demand for brand name makeup products. Everybody wants the newest thing for the cheapest price possible and unfortunately, some people are capitalising on this desire by selling fake versions of popular cosmetic products.

Nigeria is not spared from this issue as well. In 2019, the Director-General of NAFDAC announced in a press statement that the agency confiscated fake cosmetic products worth 60 million from a warehouse in Lagos.

Let’s take a look at some of the dangerous ingredients found in counterfeit cosmetics

Lead – Research shows that counterfeit cosmetics can contain up to 19 times the recommended amount of lead. Health effects include reproductive issues, and organ system toxicity within the kidneys, liver, sensory organs, and the cardiovascular system. It causes miscarriages in pregnant women too.

Mercury – This can lead to nervous system toxicity, as well as immune and respiratory toxicity. 

Aluminium – Aluminium-based compounds vary in their toxicity. Some are linked to neurotoxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity as well as cancer. 

Bacteria –A common type of bacteria that has been found in counterfeit cosmetics is E. Coli (Escherichia coli) which can cause severe diarrhoea, kidney failure and anaemia.

Cyanide – This ingredient is most harmful when inhaled.

Paint Stripper – This is found in counterfeit mascara and can cause swelling to the eyes which can potentially cause long-term damage to the eyes.

Symptoms and negative effects of using counterfeit makeup 

Eye infections – This happens when the makeup applied near and around the eyes causes irritation and inflammation. If you notice this whenever you use a specific makeup, chances are it could be a counterfeit product.

Allergic reactions – If any of your allergic reactions are triggered, it could be because a specific ingredient is being used but not included in the packaging label.

Skin rashes – One of the most common symptoms of counterfeit makeup, inflammation is a serious occurrence. At first, you may notice red skin, overtime you will notice discomfort in the area as well as dry or peeling skin.

Swollen lips – If you notice your lips become swollen or puffy, it could be a reaction to a harmful chemical or ingredient in the makeup. 

Chemical burns – Chemical burns can occur after using a faulty or fake product for so long or can happen as an immediate reaction.

Long-term health problems – Exposure to harmful ingredients being applied to your face can increase the chances of high blood pressure, infertility, and other serious health complications.

How to spot fake makeup products

Do Your Research: Whenever you’re browsing the internet or at the store looking through makeup products, browse with your phone and search for reviews on the product.

Question cheap prices: If some prices are too good to be true on a particular item, chances are they are. If the price is significantly selling far lower than usual, then you should think twice. Authorised vendors usually never knock off more than 20-30% on prices.

Inconsistent labels: Crosscheck for any misspelt words, uneven fonts and terms of the labels with the one found on the manufacturer’s website.

Assess the packaging quality: Fake makeup can usually be identified by its inferior packaging quality. Also, look out for products that look like they have been tampered with or are extremely different from how they should. 

Know your ingredients: Knowing your skin and certain ingredients can also help as you can identify any ingredients that are out of the ordinary for certain makeup products. 

Even if the product is legitimate and selling from an authorised seller, formula changes in ingredients from the manufacturer can affect your skin.

Do a Skin Patch Test: Lastly, if you’ve already purchased a product and suspect it may be counterfeit, do a skin test before using it on the face or other parts of the body. If you notice signs of a reaction or the skin appears irritated, do not use the product. Certain products may also pass a skin patch test but irritate the face.