Singapore skin cream shock: Infant hospitalised after ‘potent medicinal ingredients’ cause serious adverse reactions

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Four cosmetics creams in Singapore were found to contain potent medicinal ingredients. ©GettyImages
Four cosmetics creams in Singapore were found to contain potent medicinal ingredients. ©GettyImages
Four cosmetics creams in Singapore were found to contain potent medicinal ingredients, with one causing an infant to develop Cushing’s syndrome.

The Health Science Authorities (HSA) issued the warning after an infant, less than a year old, was sent to hospital after being treated with an unlabelled cream from a traditional practitioner in Malaysia.

At the same time, HSA warned against three other creams used to treat eczema: D’Splendid Kidzema Cream, Claír De Lune P. Tuberose Day Cream, Claír De Lune S. Involcurata Night Cream.

Temporary relief

According to HSA, those who used the four creams experienced “rapid relief”​ of their condition, which worsened when they stopped using them.

The authority tested the creams and found that they contained potent medicinal ingredients including steroids, antibiotics and antifungals.

The unlabelled diaper rash cream was found to contain betamethasone valerate, a potent steroid, and clotrimazole, an antifungal medicine.

The steroids in the product caused the infant symptoms such as ‘moon-face’, ‘buffalo hump’ on the back (due to fat accumulation), excessive hair growth on the body and thinning of the skin.

In addition, the steroids led to recurrent infections as it suppressed her immune system and caused poor developmental growth.

The infant has since been discharged from the hospital and is currently undergoing outpatient treatment, said HSA.

“Do not use unlabelled products or purchase from unfamiliar overseas sources, unknown or dubious websites or from persons posting offers on online platforms. You cannot be certain what these products contain and where or how they were mad,”​ it cautioned.

A mother who purchased D’Splendid Kidzema Cream to treat her child’s eczema observed that it cleared up after only two applications of the cream.

However, her child's eczema worsened three days after she stopped applying the cream.

It was labelled to relieve skin rashes, eczema, haemorrhoids and mosquito bites for babies and children up to 14 years old.

HSA tested and found that D’Splendid Kidzema Cream contained ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic, and terbinafine, an antifungal medicine.

Creams containing terbinafine are not recommended for use in children under the age of 12, while ciprofloxacin is a prescription only medicine that should only be used under medical supervision.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics and antifungals can lead to decreased effectiveness for future infections

D’Splendid products were sold on its website, at sales booths and other retail outlets.

However, HSA has already ordered the company to stop the sale of D’Splendid Kidzema Cream and to recall the affected product from retail outlets.

Tainted eczema creams

Similarly, a consumer that purchased Claír De Lune P. Tuberose Day Cream and Claír De Lune S. Involcurata Night Cream, reported that her eczema flared when she stopped using them.

According to HSA, the Claír De Lune P. Tuberose Day Cream claimed to be ‘anti-allergic’ and could ‘reduce acne and eczema’ and ‘stimulate metabolism of skin’.

Claír De Lune S. Involcurata Night Cream, on the other hand, claimed to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The creams were found to be tainted with multiple potent ingredients including a steroid, an antihistamine, antibiotics and antifungal substances.

The products also carried false and misleading claims such as ‘all-natural plant-based ingredients’ ​and ‘zero chemicals’​.

HSA warned consumers to be wary of products that claim to be all-natural or chemical-free.

“They could potentially contain undeclared controlled ingredients, which were illegally added to boost the efficacy of these products.”

HSA said the use of both creams could lead to adverse effects such as thinning of the skin, skin rashes and skin irritation.

The products were sold on various e-commerce and social media platforms but HSA has since contacted and directed them to remove the product listings.

“It is illegal to sell and supply adulterated products which contain undeclared potent medicinal ingredients,” ​HSA reminded.

“Anyone who supplies such adulterated products is liable to prosecution and if convicted, may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to $100,000.”

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