My Executive

Kanebo recalling skin whiteners from Asia

SORRY: Mr Masumi Natsusaka (centre), president of Kanebo, and other executives bowing in apology at a press conference in Tokyo yesterday. Kanebo is recalling 54 skin-whitening products.


    Jul 05, 2013

    Kanebo recalling skin whiteners from Asia

    JAPANESE cosmetics maker Kanebo yesterday announced it was recalling 54 skin-whitening products from all over Asia after complaints they caused discolouring that does not clear up even after use was discontinued.

    The cosmetics contain a substance called 4HPB, a synthetic version developed by Kanebo of a natural compound, the company said.

    "Some consumers complained that they had white patches on their skin after using the products, and we suspect a link between the condition and 4HPB," a spokesman said.

    A company spokesman told Agence France-Presse there had been 39 complaints from customers in Japan. Of those, 15 had shown no improvement in their conditions even after they stopped using the products, he said.

    The company has shipped a total of 4.36 million products in Japan and is recalling 450,000 that have already been sold to consumers, as well as all inventory from the domestic market.

    It will also recall products on sale abroad. A total of 370,000 items have been sent to overseas markets but at present it plans to recall only items that are on sale.

    The recall affects Japan and 10 Asian territories: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

    Taiwan is the largest overseas market for the products, a Kanebo spokesman said.

    "The problem was initially thought to be a type of skin disease, but there was growing concern about a link to 4HPB" which led the company to recall the products, the spokesman said.

    Skin-whitening products are popular among women all over East Asia, with users seeking lighter tones.