Health Canada Warning Against Use of Cream That Could Seriously Harm Children

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People who frequently look for natural skin creams for their babies, children or themselves should be aware that a "natural" substance has been identifed as potentially harmful by Health Canada.

Health Canada recently warned shoppers to avoid an unauthorized health product called PureCare Herbal Cream—a product promoted as a natural treatment for eczema and psoriasis in babies and children.

According to the advisory, Health Canada testing confirmed the presence of a prescription steroid and another ingredient (phenoxyethanol) not disclosed on the label. These ingredients could cause anything from skin irritation to dehydration to increased blood pressure.

Health Canada reports that PureCare Herbal Cream was sold online at www.purecareskin.com and through an in-person distribution network. The product has been sold with two different labels. The current label states the product is "for extremely dry skin" (see cover photo) and the previous label says it is a "Herbal Cream for Eczema, Psoriasis & Dry Skin" (see below). The product was imported by the company PureCare Herbal Cream Ltd.

Health Canada is advising people who are using to the product to stop and to consult a doctor if they have used it and have health concerns. The agency is also urging people to read product labels to verify that health products have been authorized for sale by Health Canada.

Authorized health products have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Drug Number (DIN-HM).

Consumers can also check whether products have been authorized for sale by searching Health Canada's Drug Product Database and Licensed Natural Health Product Database.

According to Health Canada, Clobetasol propionate is a super-high potency topical steroidal prescription drug used to treat inflammatory conditions that should only be used only under the supervision of a health care professional.

Side effects include skin irritation, weakening or degeneration. Also, topical corticosteroids can be absorbed in sufficient amounts to produce adverse effects, including irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, stomach ulcer, increased blood sugar, blood disorders, skin, muscle and bone damage, and nervous system disorders.

Phenoxylethanol can pose serious health risks if ingested (for example, by infants during nursing if the mother has applied the product to help soothe and heal dry or cracked nipples). Ingesting the product can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting and diarrhea.

Health Canada has confimed that the company is no longer selling the product. It has asked PureCare to recall the product from the marketplace.

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