Kanebo release new safety guidelines as number of filed lawsuits continues to rise

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Kanebo release new safety guidelines as number of filed lawsuits continues to rise

Related tags Skin whitening

Japanese cosmetics company Kanebo has released new safety guidelines for its products, in a move which suggests it is looking to start distancing itself from the saga of its rhododenol-containing skin whitening products, which have, to-date, damaged the skin of 14,497 customers.

Under the new rules, the company holds itself to giving detailed explanations of the risks associated with its products, and to long-term trials involving a number of people before the products are marketed, according to a report in the Japan Times.

Though the revised rules highlight the company’s redirected focus onto safety and responsibility, their announcement comes alongside that of the recent filing of four new lawsuits by affected consumers, following 15 already made so far this year, suggesting the skin care brand still has a long way to go in moving past this situation.

Skin damage lawsuits

Kanebo, who were criticised for the slowness of their response, started their recall in July 2013 of 54 products from the Blanchir Superior, Suisai, Twany, Impress and Aqualeaf brands, which caused vitiligo-like symptoms of blotchy skin discolouration.

All of the withdrawn products were skin whiteners containing the ingredient 4HPB, an artificial compound developed by Kanebo and around 250,000 Japanese consumers are believed to have used products containing the ingredient.

The increasing group of claimants come from within the wider group of nearly 15,000 customers who the company acknowledge have been injured by the defective products, and are seeking damages from the company ranging from 5 million yen to nearly 50 million.


The beauty brand notes that it carried out personal visits of 3,771 of the affected customers, and between the first and second and subsequent visits, as of the end of March, 78.3% of cases showed at least some degree of improvement.

Over 4000 of the affected customers are now fully or almost fully recovered according to the brand, based on examination by a doctor or the customer’s own declaration.

The company has admitted its responsibility for the extent of the situation.

Kanebo Cosmetics believes that the increase in the number of people who have experienced vitiligo-like symptoms has stemmed, in large part, from the company’s inadequate ability to listen to the voices and opinions of our customers and experts, to draw appropriate conclusions from those voices, and to respond promptly to concerns,” ​it stated.

Related topics Regulation & Safety

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