A warning has been issued about the potential health risks of buying counterfeit cosmetic products, after reports of them being sold online from Durham.
Durham County Council's consumer protection service has issued a warning after receiving reports of a number of people, believed to be based in the County, selling suspected counterfeit cosmetics on social media sites.
According to laboratory tests, some products such as eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss and foundation have, in some cases, been found to contain toxic levels of chemicals and harmful substances such as arsenic, mercury and lead.
All of these can cause allergic reactions, such as skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns as well as leaving the user with longer term health problems. This is because a lot of counterfeit make-up is produced in un-sanitised and un-hygienic factories - putting the user at even greater risk.
Some of the products the council has been told about are even alleged to contain glue, urine and rat faeces.
Certain branded beauty products such as Kylie Jenner and Mac are becoming increasingly popular and are sold online legitimately, sometimes on social media sites by third parties, at significantly reduced prices.
However, checking the authenticity of a product seen online is more difficult than buying in shops as consumers cannot gauge the look and feel of what they are purchasing.
Some social media sites use generic stock images to deceive consumers into believing they are buying the real items.
Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection, said:
Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, is urging consumers to always buy from known reputable retailers and to be cautious about buying from social media selling pages.