Kanebo confirms growing numbers of skin-whitening sufferers

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-9 22:03:31

Kanebo Cosmetics Inc., Japan's second-largest cosmetics maker, admitted Monday the number of women suffering from dermatological blotches due to its skin- whitening products had totaled almost 10,000.

The cosmetic maker said an additional 1,281 people had adverse skin reactions after using the whitening products, bringing the total known cases in Japan to 9,959, local media reported.

The company confirmed the figure after deploying its marketing team to make house calls to its customers around the nation. Kanebo said it intends to make 11,000 visits and expects the number of sufferers to increase in the coming days and weeks.

The ongoing investigation and growing number of confirmed cases is worrisome as the company's Kanebo Blanchir Superior and other skin-whitening products are some of the most popular in Japan -- where women often use expensive high-end creams to lighten the color of their skin.

Kanebo said that 54 of its products used in Japan and around the world use the substance developed by the group, which is believed to be the cause of multiple white blotches on the faces of users.

The embattled cosmetics maker said more than 3,000 users had multiple blotches on their faces after using their products, with some of the dermatological anomalies being more than five centimeters in diameter. Kanebo has defined these cases as " serious."

The company claims that about a quarter of the affected women were recovering after they stopped using the product or received treatment, although the company has yet to confirm the exact cause of the skin conditions.

The official recall on the 54 products was made on June 28, but the recall, involving almost 4.75 million products on retail shelves, was not announced until July 4, meaning that thousands of customers overseas could have been affected by the faulty products.

Kanebo has pledged to pay medical costs for any customers who had been left with discolored skin, which in some cases has continued even after users ceased using the products for fear of the condition worsening.

Kanebo, whose skin-whitening products comprise 25 percent of its entire skin-care line ,received a government bailout in 2004 before its cosmetics operations were sold to Kao Corp. in 2005.

Its recall affects Japan, Britain, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, the company said in a statement.

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