China has banned a TV advertisement that promotes a liquid as a "magic" medicine to remove freckles.
A herb used in the lotion has the magic power of removing freckles, the TV ad claims, but actually it is mainly used to alleviate inflammation, reduce phlegm and vent energy heat in traditional Chinese medicine, state television reported.
The herb is also poisonous if used improperly, China Central Television said in its Weekly Quality Report, a program popular with viewers for its in-depth investigation on quality problems.
That is why many buyers of the Spandy freckle-removing lotion developed pimples and inflammation on their faces, the report said. The ad said the lotion was developed by a US-based company.
A young woman identified as Wang bought five bottles of the freckle lotion for a total of 495 yuan in late June. One week after using it, Wang's face turned red. The supplier told her to continue using it. Another 15 days later, pimples appeared on her face, Wang told CCTV.
There were many victims like Wang across the country, the report said.
The TV ad also demonstrated how the lotion removed a black spot from a fish.
At the request of CCTV, experts at the national freshwater fishery research center did an experiment with a spotted fish following steps shown in the ad. The spot didn't turn pale after three days and it didn't disappear several days later, as displayed in the ad. The experts did a second test, which also failed to remove the spot.
Later the experts discovered the secrets in the ad: Three different fishes were used in the ad.
CCTV also discovered that the so-called customers in the ad were actresses with fake freckles employed by an ad production company.
(Shanghai Daily November 21, 2006)