The British consumer's liking for finding a bargain in the Beauty product industry is being challenged by a new campaign being run by the City of London Police. "Wake up - don't fake up!" has been set up as a counter to the health risks from buying fake beauty products and cosmetics.

Counterfeit goods are a large market

With conservative estimates suggesting that around £90 million is spent by UK consumers each year on counterfeit goods, the police are keen to make the public aware of the associated dangers. Beauty products are a particular concern, given their increased popularity through exposure on social media and online auction sites.

Customers are often taking a risk by not being able to personally vet the products' authenticity in the first place via such outlets.

Fake items such as perfume, make-up, sun cream and electrical goods such as hair-stylers are included among the police's concerns. They outline that some beauty products have been found to contain human urine, rats' droppings and even arsenic among the substances that make them up after investigation in the laboratory.

Police advise to be careful

Although recognising that beauty products are commonly used to enhance people's features, the police warning is that some do quite the opposite and can damage their health. Maria Woodall, a Detective Superintendent at the City of London Police, supplied the sound advice that "if it seems too good to be true then it probably is." The campaign is being promoted by PIPCU - the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

PIPCU have acted to close down thousands of websites offering fake products in the past year and a half.

The police, port authorities and Trading Standards' officers work together, with the co-operation of the leading brands themselves, to seek to prevent such activities and thereby protect consumers from harm. Such illegal trading also potentially damages their brand and the beauty industry in general, so all of the parties involved in the operations have a vested interest in ensuring that they look to stamp it out.