The warning highlights that the safety of such products is not guaranteed, as products sold through online retailers based abroad are not necessarily subject to the same level of regulation.
“Since its conception, online shopping has seen an increase in popularity and online shopping websites are now growing in number. Currently, almost all types of goods or items can be purchased through the internet including cosmetic products,” explained the the DOH-FDA in its advisory.
“The Food and Drug Administration hereby advises the general public to be more vigilant and cautious in purchasing cosmetic products from online shopping websites.”
The DOH-FDA advises consumers who are set on getting their cosmetics via cross-border retail to take a few safety precautions.
The body recommends checking first if the product has received its approval through the search function on the DOH-FDA website, to ask the vendor if they have any concerns, and to read the labels on cosmetics to confirm the ingredients do not include any allergens.
“Do your research. Consumers are encouraged to do research and ask questions before purchasing any cosmetic product in order to make a well-informed decision,” the body advised.
“Do not be too quick to believe the hype or any exaggerated claim one might see in the advertisements or product labels such as ‘whitens in one day’ or ‘removes pimples with one application.”
Across Asia, countries generally allow cross-border retail as long as the product has met regulation requirements and been certified in its country of origin.
Last year, China introduced this policy, which allowed beauty brands to avoid the requirement in China of testing their products on animals, a hurdle which had previously restricted those brands which trade on their ethical credentials from retailing in the country.
“Animal testing is no longer a requirement for overseas companies selling to Chinese online shoppers, so long as they’re only buying small quantities for their own use,” Internet Retail explained of the change.
With the rise of cross-border retail across the Asia region looking unlikely to slow in the near future, the warning from the Philippines’ DOH-FDA seems timely.