This Malaysian Woman’s Online Skincare Purchase Landed Her In Hospital

Skincare can often be a lot of trial and error, and everyone has probably experienced the annoyance and disappointment of their skin reacting badly to a new product– usually in the form of breakouts or redness, itching, and irritation.

But it’s probably safe to say nobody’s had a worse reaction to a skincare product than one Mastura Abu Bakar. After using an undisclosed skincare product she bought online for RM50 from a college student, her face swelled up, turning red with a burning pain! The swelling and pain was so bad, Mastura could barely open her eyes or sleep, according to Sinar Harian.

Photo: The Star

According to Mastura, she had used the same product before with great success. But something about the new packet she bought on Thursday made her face react horrifically within a few days. When the pain got too bad, the 36-year-old went to a clinic, where she was referred to a dermatologist in Hospital Melaka.

While she didn’t disclose what product it was, it’s clear that this sort of reaction is more than just a simple disagreement or allergic reaction.

Aesthetician Dr Aidil Azry Datuk Mokhtar warns that a lot of unregulated, uncertified beauty products use ingredients like mercury, hydroquinone, tretinoin, azelaic acid, and betamethasone to deliver dramatic results – usually whitening – in the short term.

But these ingredients are so potent that using them without a doctor’s guidance eventually will damage and thin skin, leaving it vulnerable and prone to redness, sensitivity, infection, and even cancer. Mercury belongs NOWHERE near your skin, and hydroquinone has not be approved for cosmetic use in Malaysia. Tretinoin, betamethasone and azelaic acid are powerful medical-grade ingredients that can deliver skincare benefits, but must be used with care under the prescription and supervision of a doctor.

In this year, Dr Aidil has treated over 20 patients for complications resulting from their use of cosmetic products that haven’t been certified by the Ministry of Health. He advises consumers to not be swayed by the promise of instant dramatic effects, which are temporary anyway.

The Vice President of Pertubuhan Mesra Pengguna Malaysia, Azlin Othman, agrees. He says many consumers are pleased by the rapid effects of these unregulated cosmetics and continue to use them until it finally overwhelms their skin.

“We believe there are many more cosmetics on the market that have not been tested or approved by the Ministry of Health,” he said, adding that he will be sending a sample of Mastura’s product to the ministry for their action.

Yikes. No amount of instant skincare improvements is worth the long-term health of your skin, guys! So be wise and don’t ever buy products that aren’t sold at proper retailers and don’t have the stamp of approval from the Ministry of Health.

If you have a question regar­ding any cosmetic product, send an email to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency at [email protected] or call 03-78835400. You can also search for the status of a reported cosmetic product at

(Source: 1, 2)