‘All-natural’ eczema cream found to have over 430 times the allowed limit of arsenic: HSA, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

‘All-natural’ eczema cream found to have over 430 times the allowed limit of arsenic: HSA

An eczema cream touted to be “all natural” and “steroid-free” is found to have excessive levels of arsenic and a potent steroid, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said.

The agency issued the warning on Nov 21 after a man in his 30s, who had bought Euzema Confidence Revival Cream online and used it for a year, suffered from purpura, or purplish red spots due to small bleeds under the skin.

The man’s doctor suspected that his skin reaction was caused by a mineral containing arsenic, and reported his case to HSA.

On the Malaysia-based retail website euzema.com, the cream is said to be “able to beat eczema for good with this powerful natural formula”, which is “steroid-free”, contains “100% all-natural herbs” and “has no side effects”. It is also sold on e-commerce platform Carousell.

But HSA’s tests found that the cream has more than 430 times the allowed limits of arsenic, as well as high levels of betamethasone and salicylic acid.

Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that can cause skin irritations, contact dermatitis or rashes. Arsenic poisoning can occur with widespread, prolonged application of products containing high levels of arsenic, said HSA.

Betamethasone is a potent steroid and should only be used under strict medical supervision, and salicylic acid could lead to dry, irritated and red skin if used in high amounts, HSA added.

The agency said consumers who are using this eczema cream should see a doctor as soon as possible.

“Long-term steroid use can suppress the body’s production of steroids and sudden stopping without medical supervision may cause serious withdrawal symptoms, such as adrenal insufficiency leading to confusion, muscle and joint pain, low blood pressure and fits or shocks,” HSA said.

HSA also flagged three slimming products - Honey Q Dietary Supplement Product, Slime 7D Advance Slimming Pill and FINOs in its statement on Nov 21.

One consumer experienced headache and vomiting after taking FINOs. PHOTOS: HSA

It said one consumer experienced headache and vomiting after taking FINOs.

The three products, all touted to be “herbal and natural”, are sold on local e-commerce and social media platforms. Slime 7D Advance claimed to have no banned substances in its formula.

However, HSA’s test found potent medical ingredients including sibutramine, benzyl sibutramine, fluoxetine and orlistat in the product.

HSA flagged the Honey Q Dietary Supplement Product, which is a slimming product. PHOTOS: HSA

Sibutramine was previously a prescription-only medicine for weight loss, but was banned in Singapore since 2010 as it led to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, said HSA.

When taken together, sibutramine and benzyl sibutramine may cause serious adverse effects, including high blood pressure, increased heart rate, anxiety and heart attacks, the authority added.

Additionally, fluoxetine is a prescription-only, and orlistat is a pharmacy-only medicine, both of which should only be used under medical supervision.

HSA found potent medical ingredients including sibutramine, benzyl sibutramine, fluoxetine and orlistat in the Slime 7D Advance Slimming Pill. PHOTOS: HSA

Consumers are advised to stop consuming these three weight loss products and to consult a doctor immediately if they are feeling unwell and are concerned about their health.

HSA said: “There is no quick and easy way to lose weight.

“Weight control should be achieved through a combination of balanced diet and appropriate exercise.”

It added that consumers should be wary of products that “promise miraculous recovery from chronic medical conditions”, or claim to contain “100 per cent all-natural herbs or ingredients” or “has no side effects”.

Products should only be bought from reputable pharmacies or retailers’ websites, or those with an established retail presence in Singapore.

Sellers and suppliers must stop selling these products immediately, said HSA. Those found guilty may be jailed up to 2 years, fined up to $10,000, or both.

Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these illegal products may contact HSA’s Enforcement Branch at 68663485 or hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg.