Updated 05 March 2013

8 ill after using toxic skin product

City authorities in Durban have issued a warning to customers who bought an over-the-counter skincare product after eight people were hospitalised.


City authorities in Durban have issued a warning to customers who bought an over-the-counter skincare product after eight people were hospitalised.

The Daily News reported that officials were now looking for other customers of the ayurvedic product Skintocare, which is imported from India and available from homeopaths and health shops.

Durban officials found the product contained high levels of lead.

Most of the patients were teenage girls and taking the product in capsule form for treatment of acne and skin blemishes.

Product is toxic

“The product overall is toxic to many organs in the body, including the heart, nervous system and bones. In severe cases, after a long period of ingestion, it leads to seizures, comas and sudden death,” said Tim Houston from the eThekwini Municipality’s health unit.

Some of the consumers were tracked down by the unit, using a distribution list from the importer of the product.

Manufacturer Bacfo Pharmaceuticals has recalled the product but residual products may still be on the market.

Shops have been ordered to remove the product from shelves. People who have been using the product have been told to see their doctor immediately.

Symptoms of lead poisoning are non-specific and people could have toxic levels in their blood and not even know about it.

(The Daily News, September 2012)

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Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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