TAIPEI – Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. in Taiwan said Wednesday it is looking into complaints by customers who experienced patchy whitening of their skin after using the firm’s products, including facial lotions.
According to the company’s public relations specialist, Fiona Lin, 181 customers complained, with 123 cases currently being investigated.
She said 58 of the cases were not connected to the use of Kanebo products.
Japan’s Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. said Tuesday it received 2,250 complaints from users who saw white blotches appearing on their skin.
The company began a recall of 54 products on July 4 in Japan, with Kanebo Taiwan following a day later, recalling 19 of its products that contain a whitening chemical substance called 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone, which Kanebo has named Rhododenol.
Lin said Taiwanese users wishing to return the products in question can do so between Friday and Aug. 10.
Those receiving credit from the company can purchase other products at Kanebo stores islandwide before Sept. 10.
So far, more than 15,000 users have purchased other products using their credit, Lin said, adding the number represents 62 percent of users who have purchased whitening products since January.
Taiwan is the company’s biggest overseas market, with Kanebo ranking among the island’s top-five best-selling cosmetics brands.
Kanebo Taiwan has imported about 280,000 units of skin-whitening products from Japan since 2011. About 56,000 units were recalled as of July 22.
If all 280,000 units are recalled, the company estimates the financial loss to be around 100 million new Taiwan dollars ($3.3 million), Lin said.
Taiwan’s Department of Health said it is studying the possibility of banning Rhododenol.
The Consumers Affairs Agency in Tokyo has urged consumers to stop using products containing the substance.