Health Sciences Authority issues alert over two health products


The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued an alert over two so-called health products after one consumer was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the other suffered chemical burns.

Tests found that the two products, URE Tonic Herbal Traditional and RDL Hydroquinone Tretinoin Babyface Solution 3, contained potent western medicinal ingredients which are prohibited here, said the HSA in a news release on Monday (22 January).

The HSA said that a woman in her 50s had purchased URE Tonic Herbal Traditional, which contains dexamethasone – a potent steroid – from a traditional practitioner in Malaysia.

She developed Cushing’s syndrome, a condition caused by prolonged consumption of steroids, after taking it daily for more than a year.  

The woman also suffered complications such as persistent low blood pressure and a weakened immune system, which resulted in pneumonia and sepsis, a life-threatening condition. She is currently undergoing outpatient care after being admitted to the ICU for treatment, added the HSA.

Another woman in her 20s suffered chemical burns after visiting a beauty parlour called Anita iBrow in Orchard Road for a make-up session, which included the use of a facial solution.

The facial solution, RDL Hydroquinone Tretinoin Babyface Solution 3, contained hydroquinone and tretinoin – western medicinal ingredients used for the treatment of skin conditions. These should be prescribed only by a doctor and used under medical supervision, added the HSA.

According to the parlour’s beautician, the product had been purchased from an online platform and was sold to the woman in two unlabelled bottles as “magic water” to brighten up her skin.

After two to three days of daily application, the woman experienced superficial chemical burns and skin peeling, and required treatment by a skin specialist. Her skin had darkened and turned red and itchy.

“HSA has directed the beautician to stop using and supplying the solution. The beautician is currently assisting in the investigation,” said the HSA.

Consumers who have used URE Tonic Herbal Traditional are advised to see a doctor as soon as possible as the discontinuation of steroids – such as those found in URE Tonic Herbal Traditional – without proper medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure.

Consumers have also been warned against using any unlabelled facial solutions supplied by the Anita iBrow, and to see a doctor if they are experiencing adverse side-effects.

The HSA also warned sellers and suppliers to stop supplying these illegal products immediately. Anyone convicted of supplying illegal health products may be sentenced to up to three years in jail and/or fined up to $100,000.

Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of these illegal products may contact HSA’s Enforcement Branch at 68663485 or

More Singapore stories:

Shanmugam on ‘kidnap scares’: Beware of spreading ‘untrue stories’

Man on trial for practising TCM without license after former patient dies