I always look forward to my monthly hydrafacials with my dear friend and skincare guru—Yuko Nishimura.
Yuko is like a little sister to me. It is no surprise how alike we are since we are both Pitta Aries Dragons. Our common bond is the pursuit of the latest advancements in the Health and Beauty industries. We find ourselves constantly texting each other on new skin care procedures and products, workouts and our second greatest obsession…food! Yuko is extremely sharp, savvy, meticulous and organized as well as beautiful, loving and compassionate.
Yesterday, as we were racing through a long list of topics we wanted to discuss. I was talking about FUE (follicular unit extraction) and the Neo graft procedure for hair replacement, and she was laughing at my earlier reference to them as plugs. She explained that she used to go out with a guy that had a hair transplant, and all her friends referred to him as Plugs.
Then, Yuko dropped a bomb…she asked if I had read the article that exposes AMAZON and many more sites for selling counterfeit skincare products. That was the first scuttlebutt I had heard on the subject. For over 10 years, I have purchased four products from Complete Skin Care’s website, Skinceuticals and Skin Medica. I had to wonder if I was one of the many tens of thousands that had fallen prey to the internet sham. Yuko sent me the article, “Why Buying Skincare Off Amazon Is A Health Hazard” from Erica’s Boutique website. The article starts off with the following:
The FBI warns the United States on the hazardous health effects of counterfeit cosmetics.
Counterfeit skincare products have been found to contain dangerous levels of lead, mercury, and cyanide. Too often having been formulated in unsanitary factories they also may contain traces of urine and rat feces. I bet you think you’ve never put products containing these things on your skin; that you’ve never purchased counterfeit skincare. Well, if you’ve purchased skincare, makeup, or fragrance off Amazon chances are its counterfeit and you have been using phony cosmetics.
I had to appreciate Veronica, owner of the website’s comment…
“If China can make a fake Louis Vuitton handbag look like the real deal, imagine what they can do with a glass bottle, some cardboard and some liquid.”
The article listed Amazon along with 39 other companies as selling counterfeit or unauthorized skin care products. The vision of diligently, year after year, applying rat and urine feces serums laced with lead, mercury and cyanide to my face was horrifying.The FBI article instructed buyers to educate themselves on the possible indicators of counterfeit products:
- The packaging differs slightly from the authentic brand (might be a different color or different lettering on the product), and/or the product’s wrapping appears haphazard.
- The product is being advertised as a “limited edition” even though the authentic manufacturer doesn’t offer it as a limited edition.
- The price is either slightly or drastically lower.
- For cosmetics, the product’s consistency or texture just doesn’t feel or look like the authentic brand.
- For fragrances, there’s something a little off about the scent, and the color of the fluid in the bottle might be different than the original.
- For both products, they’re being sold at non-authorized retailers, including flea markets, mall kiosks, and over the Internet.
One of the forty companies on the list of those reported to be selling fake products was Complete Skin Care. The big eye opener for me was how trusting and naive I was. The even bigger shocker was that you cannot trust everything you buy on Amazon.
I did a lot of investigating and could not find a single article that confirmed that Complete Skin Care was a fraud. I even called and spoke to a representative of the company. She denied my allegations of selling fraudulent goods and assured me that the company buys the products from legitimate doctors with legal contracts with Skinceuticals and Skin Medica.
Yuko’s Skinceutical’s representative said the skin care internet sites owned by doctors are legitimate. She suggested I look into: The SkinStore and LovelySkin.
I did a price comparison of these two sites and Complete Skin Care. The SkinStore with their 20% off for Mother’s Day special was almost neck and neck with Complete Skin Care prices. I found an article reporting SkinStore is owned by drugstore.com.
None of my research provided solid answers, so I was more confused than ever. In reviewing all of the indicators to identify counterfeit products, the only one that applied to Complete Skin Care was that the products are offered online.
Over the past decade, I never noticed any sketchy packaging or questionable product quality, and my face has not turned green or fallen off. You would think during my hydra facials the gunk extracted from my face would have indicated something. If I have been using fake products, the best case scenario is to hope that I was using diluted or expired products.
Yuko, always one to get to the bottom of a mystery, contacted her Skinceutical’s rep, and she assured Yuko that Complete Skin Care was a legitimate online skin care company, and they had never gotten any complaints about them. She also gave her this list of other legitimate sites:
The Skinceutical’s rep said the majority of the counterfeit products were from Amazon and E-bay. I still have to question why Complete Skin Care was on the fraudulent hit list. At the end of the day, this was a good reminder for me of “BUYER BEWARE,” and that I need to be more mindful of my purchases online being made from legitimate, authorized dealers.