PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK

by Paris B on · 22 comments

in Mask,Moisturiser,Musings,Skincare,Sunscreen,Toner/Lotion,Treatment

kanebo recall PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK

Photo credit of AFP from Channelnewsasia

I shared this piece of news a few days ago on Facebook that Kanebo Cosmetics Inc was discontinuing the manufacture and sale of selected whitening products from 3 ranges of skincare, but was waiting for the info from the Malaysian offices before I posted a quick PSA.

Basically, about 39 complaints were initially received from customers in Japan that they suffered skin staining or discolouration and white blotches on the skin after using some Kanebo Cosmetics products, which contain 4HPB or Rhododenol 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanol a product developed by Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. and used in their whitening ranges of skincare since 2008. This ingredient was certified safe by the Department of Health in Japan and over 4 million bottles of skincare products. Update: The number of affected people in Japan has increased to over 2000 (source)

Due to the recent complaints received in Japan, and pending investigation of the cause and effect of Rhododenol on skin, Kanebo Cosmetics has voluntarily decided to temporarily discontinue production of their products which contain 4HPB or Rhododenol and in Japan, to recall the products which have already been sold.

Here are the products and brands in question and what you can do if you are using them or still have stock of them.

Kanebo Blanchir Superior

kanebo blanchir PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK

This is the popular “red line” which I used to be a fan of. I used to like using the Clear Conditioner and the Make Off Conditioner (not affected) but found the products too light for me as I went along so I haven’t been using them for a few years. The products affected are as listed below:-

(1) White Deep Clear Conditioner I
(2) White Deep Clear Conditioner II
(3) White Deep Clear Conditioner III
(4) White Deep Milky Conditioner I
(5) White Deep Milky Conditioner II
(6) White Deep Night Conditioner I
(7) White Deep Night Conditioner II
(8) White Deep Mask
(9) White Deep UV Day Protector

Impress IC and Granmula

kanebo impress PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK

I hadn’t used either of these before, primarily because Impress products had a tendency to break me out. So when Impress IC was introduced I wasn’t too interested. But if you are using these, you might want to pay attention. The items affected are:-

(1) IC White Lotion I
(2) IC White Lotion II
(3) IC White Emulsion I
(4) IC White Emulsion II
(5) IC White Fit Mask
(6) Granmula Lotion

RMK Skintuner

kanebo rmk PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK

I’d tried the RMK Skintuner Moist which you might have recalled me liking. I did, and I experienced absolutely no issues with it. I finished it up, and was planning to repurchase but eventually did not because I’ve since found other products that work better for me. The affected products from RMK are:-

(1) Skintuner Brightening Light
(2) Skintuner Brightening Moist
(3) Intensive Brightening Essence

What can you do?

As far as anyone knows, at time of writing, the cases of skin discolouration appear to be isolated to Japan only with no similar reports from other countries, including Malaysia. However, for your peace of mind and should you wish to obtain more information, you are recommended to check with your local Kanebo counter for further advise and assistance. Here in Malaysia, Kanebo counters are located in most major departmental stores should you have any queries. For now, its just the products listed here which are discontinued. Other products not listed aren’t.

How does this affect me?

A reader Adeline was very helpful to remind me that I used to be a fan of Kanebo skincare and to ask what I thought of these latest claims.

Well, to be perfectly honest while I was using these products and my whole family and a few friends were too, we didn’t experience anything untoward. My siblings are still using the Blanchir and Impress IC with no issues and I still and will still go to the Kanebo salon for my facials icon smile PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK I do appreciate the fact that Kanebo has acted swiftly to discontinue production and sale of these affected products pending investigation, although so far, the number of cases are quite isolated to just a few cases in one country, and no conclusive connection has yet been confirmed.

I did let my family know about this and was told that they had just finished off their products with no untoward incidences but in the interim, would switch to other products. At this time, I don’t use any Kanebo skincare in my routines so I am not quite affected by this.

Yet, I have a note of caution that I am perhaps, not too surprised that something like this can occur. I have always been a bit wary about using whitening skincare for the long term and this is one of my concerns. That you can have too much of a good thing. So, if I do use a whitening product, I usually only use the serum and even then, only for short periods of time, allowing my skin to “rest” in between. You could say that I treat “whitening skincare” as a “treatment” and not as a long term commitment. Anti-aging and Hydration is my long term commitment icon smile PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK I think its unfortunate that its had to happen, but I think Kanebo Cosmetics has handled it well without brushing it under the carpet.

Have you been affected by this Kanebo products recall?

To be honest, I wouldn’t be the most worried person around if you have not experienced anything wrong after using the products. The cases are fairly few and pretty localized so i think widescale panic isn’t the wisest way to go about things. But to err on the side of caution, if you are affected, it might be best to head down to your Kanebo counter so they can advise you further on this. Good luck and don’t panic! icon wink PSA: Kanebo Cosmetics Discontinues Manufacture and Sale of Whitening Products under Blanchir Superior, Impress IC White, Granmula and RMK

Paris B

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[ 22 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Firn July 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

I only have the full-sized bottle of the Impress UV emulsion and Blanchir cleansing oil, so thankfully I’m not affected. I did get samples of the affected products but never used them as I don’t think any OTC whitening products work. It would be interesting to see if the new compound really is responsible for the skin effects and see if it will open up new research.


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I’m actually more than a little curious as to why its only localized to Japan and if their situation over there has anything to do with it. I do admire the way that Kanebo has reacted which to another company might have been swept under the carpet. I think that’s endeared them more to their fans than turn people away haha :)


liyeun July 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

Oh, what a news! Until I saw the word “temporarily”…phew!!!! I hope they will sort the matter soon, I have faith in them! Thanks for informing, paris… at least I can still enjoy the blanchair’s creamy soap….


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Yep, I’m told the discontinuation is temporary but like you, I too have faith in them. Been using their products off and on through the years with no issues :)


Syahira Sharif July 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

another reason to not using whitening range and loving the skin tone you’re in.


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Absolutely – at least not for the long term.


plue July 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Haven’t tried any of the ones you listed, but man I was thinking of getting RMK’s skintuner brightening, but well, I guess I don’t need to now, since it’s discontinued.

Wonder if the other skincare giants would suffer in terms of sales especially for their whitening/brightening products, since everyone’s a little scared with what has happen?

i’ll still happily used my whitening items, as I haven’t seen any adverse effect for the many years I have been using them *touch wood* I really do hope it’s an isolated case for Kanebo alone, and hopefully they’ll do more R&D to prevent such cases from happening again. Same goes for other skincare brands eh?


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Actually I don’t think it’ll affect anyone if the isolated ingredient is a Kanebo ingredient. Then again, as I said, I don’t use whitening products for the long term and prefer to mix it around so my skin doesn’t get too sensitized. That said, I was wondering if the localized cases was due to the situation/lifestyle of the people living in Japan. Especially now I hear that radiation levels are up again. Eeps :P


Chiara July 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Truly unfortunate incident, I hope it will be sorted out soon. It’s sad for me because my skin is happy with the Blanchir range. I especially love the clear conditioner and night conditioner. I will be using up what I have on hand and till everything is sorted out, I probably have to get new set of skincare.


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I do too Chiara! I love the Clear Conditioner too – its so lovely and I love using it for a quick mask! Glad to see you’re keeping a level head about this :)


Cece July 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I have been using Kanebo and nothing bad has happened. I appreciate the way Kanebo react to this incident. Do visit their counters for more info on returning the products. It’s hassle-free.


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I’m the same Cece but I do think they’ve taken a very big step at a big risk to their reputation although I don’t think its sparking the sort of panic people might have expected .


sawpore July 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hi Paris,
You earned my respect as a blogger for sharing this important information on product recall.

When the news broke last week my first thought was why none of the blogs I’ve been following not share this on their blogs nor breathe a word in their tweets?

I don’t even expect a detailed post like yours, just an official circular would be helpful in sharing.

Keep up the good work! :)


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Aww, thank you for the lovely kind words :) I read the news and saw it pop up on a couple of blogs but not the major ones which surprised me somewhat. I did want to get the word from the local counter before releasing any info so people don’t get confused, as there’ll be different practices in place in different countries. Thanks again!


Cara July 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I don’t use any of these products, but I have to say that I’m impressed with Kanebo’s reaction to the complaints. I live in the Philippines, and I strongly doubt product recall would be done voluntary over relatively few complaints, especially if it was found safe by their Department of Health.

If I had the money, I’d probably try this brand for the way they protect the integrity of their image/products. :D


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Hi Cara, it was certainly impressive wasn’t it? 39 people had a problem and they just shut everything down. I was impressed too! :)


Fiona July 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

A few days ago I received a sms from Amex on complimentary Kanebo facial. A bit skeptical at first due to the recall but then when I think of it, only a few complaints on white blotches.
RMK Skintuner is my favorite product :(. Just finished my bottle too.


Paris B July 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Ah I love their facials so if its a complimentary one, I’d go anyway haha :P


Applegal July 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

Thanks for this post! Great that you’re raising awareness about this.


Paris B July 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Thank you! Always good to be aware of what’s going on!


Melanie July 26, 2013 at 9:14 am

I don’t use anything from those Kanebo lines or whitening skincare (although my sunscreen claims a whitening component) in general. I’ve bought some stuff from Kanebo in the past and will continue to buy things here and there in the future. I think their actions on this issue shows that they are really in touch with how the market works and consumer trust and opinions. The number is now up to several thousand people who have been affected. Here’s an article from The Japan Times


Paris B July 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thank you so much for the update Melanie! I have updated the post to reflect your latest info :) I too will continue to buy products from Kanebo but as I don’t use their skincare, it may be a moot point. But I will continue going to their salons for my monthly facials because it suits me well :)


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