SUPERDRUG is investigating after an acne sufferer claimed she was left with “chemical burns” and likely to have permanent scarring after using a popular over-the-counter treatment.
Samantha Monaghan claims the Acneside 5% gel, bought from Superdrug online, made her skin red and unbearably sore.
The 22-year-old from Newcastle posted pictures and video of the alleged effect of the £10 treatment, which she claims caused pain she would not wish on her “worst enemy”.
She decided to buy the product after suffering what she described as a minor outbreak of acne on her chin and a few spots on her cheek.
Superdrug are now working with the Swiss-based makers of the gel to examine Samantha’s complaint.
Samantha received the product on Thursday last week (OCT 12) and says she applied the cream twice a day as instructed.
The mother-of-one said the reaction was so bad she gave up on Saturday but was still suffering severe effects by the time she alerted Superdrug, via their Facebook page, on Tuesday.
Her video shows red and sore-looking pimples scattered across Samantha’s cheeks and forehead. She also has a vivid red rash spreading down her neck and up to her ears.
A selfie taken just before she started the treatment shows Samantha’s overall complexion looking normal apart from a small number of spots.
She said today: “My doctor said it had basically chemically burned my skin and likely to scar. I’m still in a lot of pain and applying cream from the doctor every hour to make it a bit less painful.
“I cannot wear makeup, I’m not sleeping. It has affected my life so much and all Superdrug have told me to do is take it to the shop and fill in a form. They told me is because it’s not them who make it they can’t do anything which I feel is unfair.
“I have a son and if I didn’t have bills to pay I’d have had to take time off work. Instead I’ve been suffering at work, been attending doctors and been in pain because I need the money. They’ve not even apologised.”
On her Facebook post, Samantha wrote: “It has basically burnt my face, the doctor says it is due to it being so strong.
“Not only has this caused my skin to become worse than it was before the cream, but now I’m left with possibly scarring, and this can take two weeks to go down.
“I am now…in the most pain I have been in, as now my skin is drying up and it feels almost like a face mask attached to my face, with tiny needles pricking at my skin over and over but also the intense itch feeling. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.”
A spokeswoman for Superdrug said: “We take all customer complaints seriously. We are currently investigating the complaint with the customer.
“When we receive an enquiry like this our procedure for branded products is to ask the customer to complete a product complaint form and send us the remainder of the product so we can work with the supplier to investigate thoroughly.”
Superdrug warn their customers to be cautious when using the product on their website. They warn not to use the product on broken skin, that the product may bleach hair or coloured fabrics, and that it may cause skin irritation.
Lausanne-based Galderma, who make Acnecide, describe it as ideal for treating smaller areas, and that it has shown to reduce the presence of acne bacteria. The firms website reads: “The product contains Acrylates Copolymer beads, a special technology designed to remove excess oiliness and release Glycerine to hydrate and moisturise the skin.”
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “We are trying to obtain more information. Until then we cannot comment further.”
Two weeks ago, Boots launched an investigation after a customer claimed their own-brand facial hair removal cream left her with similar “chemical burns”.
Jenny Hazell suffered from bright red and blotchy skin after using the chemists cream, which is sold as being for people with sensitive skin.
The 28-year-old, from Staines, Surrey, said the reaction was the worst she had ever suffered in her life.