NEW YORK (CBSNewYork): Anyone who uses SkinMedica® or other popular, high-end lines of skin care, cosmetics and shampoo and loves a bargain: be careful what – and where – you choose to buy! You, as well as other unsuspecting shoppers, are being targeted by peddlers of bogus beauty products.
The largest venue for these knockoffs is online, as rogue sellers commonly use sites like Amazon and eBay to showcase their bogus wares, but retail chain stores like Target have recently been guilty of stocking “100% authentic” imitation cosmetics. These fakes can be very hard to detect: the more costly a product, the more worthwhile it is to create a really convincing imitation. Sometimes the only way to distinguish the real deal’s packaging from an unauthorized product is from subtle logo or font details, or lack of seals and serial numbers; in some cases your phony purchase could have been re-wrapped or re-sealed to give the impression it has never been opened.
In addition to the ripoff of not getting what you think you’re just paying (less) for, off-market products may actually damage your skin – which ironically makes them not just counterfeit, but counterproductive as well. There can be serious consequences to buying skin products from unauthorized sources: many are diluted, past their effective date, or just outright fakes. Cheap counterfeits are often adulterated with contaminated ingredients, and have been found to contain high levels of lead, aluminum and arsenic, as well as known carcinogens like beryllium. Because tampering usually takes place in unsanitary settings, these bogus serums can contain very high levels of bacteria. These, as some users like Susan Moreira discovered, carry the risk of serious skin infection and even permanent scarring.
“Within one to two days of me using the same product [a counterfeit version of SkinMedica®‘s TNS Essential Serum] that I had used for months, I broke out in a very bad rash,” she told CBS 2′s Maurice DuBois. Moreira found her product cheaper online, but it turned out to be fake, with no plastic wrapping and no label.
Valerie Salembier, founder of the consumer watchdog site Dontbuyfakes.com, warns: “Think about what you’re doing. You’re putting unregistered chemicals on your face. It’s simple. If the cost is too good to be true, guess what — it’s too good to be true.”
Medical Aesthetics of New England is an authorized retailer* of SkinMedica®, manufactured by Allergan, (the maker of BOTOX® and JUVÉDERM®). The line is legitimately sold only through medical practices such as ours, authorized retailers, or Allergan’s own site. So while it might be tempting, or otherwise seem harmless, to buy from a less expensive “gray market” source, you might want to ask yourself: would you ever get your Botox or filler from anywhere other than a medical clinic? While we all love a bargain, sometimes the cost can be too high.
* For a list of known unauthorized SkinMedica® internet resellers, and to find approved physicians and retailers, please visit skinmedica.com.