Sue influencers who promote harmful cosmetics, public told

Sue influencers who promote harmful cosmetics, public told

KUALA LUMPUR: Consumers who suffer allergic reactions to cosmetics and other products with banned ingredients promoted by social media influencers have been told to sue them.

Lawyer Kokila Vaani Vadiveloo said influencers profit from the products they promote and should be held accountable for their actions.

“Influences can be charged with unfair trade practices, false or misleading representation and other forms of consumer exploitation under the Consumer Protection Act 1999.

“They cannot feign ignorance and are responsible for ensuring their content does not violate the provisions (of law), especially when promoting products and services.”

Kokila Vaani said products containing “drugs and harmful chemicals”, ought to undergo rigorous testing and scrutiny to ensure they meet local standards.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia public health medicine specialist Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh also warned consumers not to buy products with unknown ingredients.

“While buying beauty products promoted by influencers might seem like a good idea, foundations, lip mattes and concealers are being sold without sufficient information.

“Consumers must know the product brand, its name and the location of the manufacturer, packer or distributor. Many products sold online do not have this information”

Regulation 18A (1) of the Control of Drugs and Cosmetic Regulations 1984 states it is illegal to manufacture, sell, supply, import or possess any cosmetics without prior notification to the director of Pharmaceutical Services.

“No matter how affordable they may be, it is crucial to exercise caution and consider various factors before purchasing cosmetics promoted online or by influencers.

“This is because its low cost could indicate compromised quality, potential safety hazards or unethical manufacturing practices.”

Sharifa Ezat said harmful chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, coal tar dyes, triclosan, toluene, polyethylene glycol and synthetic fragrances are usually found in such products.

“They can cause hormonal disruption, affect reproductive issues and cause cancer, skin irritation, allergic reactions and neurological damage.

“Due to lax regulation and inadequate labelling, consumers often struggle to identify these chemicals in their cosmetics and herein lies one of the biggest problems.”

Sharifa said consumers experiencing skin issues due to chemical reactions from cosmetics should immediately seek help from dermatologists.

Khairunnisa Zul Arif, 27, said she purchased a set of three lip mattes priced at RM 4.99 five months ago.

“I was drawn to purchase the product after seeing the vibrant colours shown in the influencer’s video.

“But when I received the products, the packaging was basic and poorly designed. There was also no mention of the ingredients, expiration date or brand name.

“I was complimented by colleagues upon using it. But less than a week later, I experienced skin irritation, allergic reactions and severe lip swelling.”

Khairunnisa said she suspects the product contained chemicals that triggered her allergic reactions, requiring her to seek medical attention.

“It took almost four months to recover and it was a painful lesson. Now, I am very cautious when purchasing beauty products at discounted prices.”

Sharifa said even products bearing the notification to the director of Pharmaceutical Services can be banned if found to contain harmful substances.

“Influencers frequently switch products to promote and probably use it only once when making their videos.

“But consumers purchase products for frequent use and if there are problems, the influencer may disclaim responsibility and leave it to consumers to deal with the repercussions.”

Sharifa stressed that regulatory bodies should implement stricter guidelines and oversight to ensure the safety and integrity of beauty products.

“Until such regulations are put in place, consumers should be cautious when purchasing cosmetics, especially those that do not provide sufficient information.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *