More than 15,000 people in Japan have filed complaints after being left with skin blotches caused by skin-whitening creams containing a chemical called “Rhododenol”, according to the maker of the products, Japanese cosmetics corporation Kanebo.
Kanebo had received 15,192 complaints from customers in Japan who used 54 products containing the whitening chemical Rhododenol, in what has become a giant image problem for the company.
A third of the complaints are from people with “serious” symptoms such as at least three blotches or a single patch of discoloration 2 inches or more in diameter, the company said in a press release.
The problem was reported not only in Japan, but abroad as well, with more than 70 people in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand reporting the same symptoms, a Kanebo spokeswoman said, according to the international press.
“The number may rise somewhat hereafter but the pace is slowing down. We hope there will be no large increase,” she said.
Kanebo is facing a public relation problem since July, when it recalled of millions of products from across the globe, including Britain, because of problems with the chemical whitening substance called 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone, which Kanebo has named “Rhododenol”.
However, the company had continued to ship cosmetic products containing Rhododenol one week after it decided to recall them, which may have led to the number of customers affected.
Kanebo has said it will cover the medical costs for customers left with uneven skin coloring, which in some cases continued after they stopped using the products.