Experts say no single product can "remove all types of scars", contradicting false posts selling a brand of skin serum that have been repeatedly shared online in the Philippines. The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has also warned against the purchase and consumption of the product, "Dr. Manila Crocodile Scar Removal Serum", saying it has not been tested for safety.
"Why does everyone with scars choose Dr Manila? Because Dr Manila promises to remove all types of scars," reads in part one Facebook post touting the product shared here on August 11, 2022.
The post says the product is "suitable for all skin types, safe for pregnant women" as well as being "FDA certified, so you can be assured of the quality".
It adds the product is "sold exclusively" at the state-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH) or through a link to the product's "official" website.
An image included in the post purportedly shows certification from the Philippines' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a product called "Crocodile Scar Removal Serum" and a shot of the product.
Screenshot of the false post taken on January 13, 2023
Other posts promoting the skin serum have been shared in Facebook posts alongside similar claims here, here and here.
The claims, however, are false.
Complete scar removal 'not possible'Dr Janet De Grano, a dermatologist based in the Philippines, told AFP on January 13: "There are many types of skin scars due to many causes. All scars can be improved but not removed completely."
According to information posted on the websites of the UK's National Health Services (NHS) and Johns Hopkins University in the United States, it is not possible to completely remove scars but they may be minimised through surgery, laser treatments, chemical peels and steroid injections.
"Complete scar removal is not possible, but most scars will gradually fade over time," the NHS page says.
The Johns Hopkins University entry also says scars cannot be removed completely.
"Many factors will affect how your particular scar heals. It can take some scars more than a year after surgery to look better," it says.
Not FDA-registeredKeyword searches for "Crocodile Scar Removal Serum" on the FDA's registered drugs and cosmetics databases did not return any matches, as of January 13.
But a search of the Cosmetic Notification Number printed on the purported FDA document included in the false post returned a result for a different cosmetic product.
In an advisory issued on October 14, 2022, the FDA also warned against the purchase and use of "Dr. Manila Crocodile Scar Removal Serum". The regulatory agency said it cannot guarantee the product's quality and safety.
It said the product "has not gone through the registration process" and "has not been issued with proper authorization in the form of Certificate of Product Registration".
"Consumption of such violative product may pose potential danger or injury to health."
A representative for the pharmacy of state-run PGH also refuted the posts.
"We only sell FDA-approved products here," the representative told AFP on January 13.
AFP has previously debunked social media posts promoting unregistered products here, here, here, here, here and here.