Irish consumers warned of counterfeit makeup products containing arsenic
In the Christmas rush, many people are opting to shop online and avoid the crowds.
However, Irish consumers have been warned of counterfeit high-end products, largely available online, after some were found to contain harmful ingredients including arsenic and lead.
The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has issued the warning after it became clear that the products were intended for the Irish market.
The products have been found on sale through markets and websites using popular brand names like MAC, Urban Decay and Benefit.
The HPRA has said that over the past year thousands of fake products were stopped from coming into the country by Revenue's Customs service, however some have now managed to make their way onto the Irish market through websites.
According to HPRA's cosmetic compliance manager, Aoife Farrell, this is a cause for major concern:
"Long periods of exposure to substances such as arsenic and lead can have potentially harmful effects on the body, such as damage to numerous organs and systems, including the kidneys and the central nervous system. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headaches and vomiting.
"Even those products that may not contain banned substances are often manufactured in unhygienic conditions using poor quality raw materials. These products may lead to skin irritation or possibly eye infections."
The organisation was keen to point out that these high-end brands are usually only available through high-street shops and pharmacies.
Ms. Farrell warned: "Beauty brands usually list their licensed retailers on their website and this is an easy way for consumers to check. If a product is much cheaper than in a high-street store or pharmacy, people should be immediately suspicious."