Buyer beware! Here's something every makeup lover needs to know!

If you haven't heard, fake cosmetics are running rampant all over the web. These counterfeit beauty products may sound innocent at first. After all, who wouldn't jump at the chance to get a great deal on their favorite high-end cosmetics? But there's a serious catch to buying a so-called 'discounted' designer item.

The issue of counterfeit cosmetics has gotten so serious over in the UK that a national alert was officially issued. Why? Not only is the market for fake makeup taking serious dollars away from the brands they imitate, but these faux cosmetics can cause you to have serious side effects.

The Daily Mail recently shared the personal accounts of women who made the terrible mistake of buying counterfeit makeup online. These super scary stories prove that a seemingly inexpensive, little beauty product on the internet can have big consequences.

Take Rosy Ferry for example. Ferry decided to jump at the chance to purchase a limited edition Dior eyeshadow palette on Ebay. The price seemed like a steal and the product seemed legit. The next morning, however, Ferry eyes were glued shut. She had to bathe in order to get her eyes open. "The lids were swollen and my eyes were bloodshot," Ferry recalled. "I was really worried that I'd caused myself serious damage."

So just what is in counterfeit makeup that can trigger this sort of reaction? The details will shock you. Some of the contents in these products quite often include dangerous levels of lead, mercury and even cyanide! Are these bootleg beauty products out to hurt us? Experts say they don't mean to harm you intentionally.

Dr. Emma Meredith, President of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, says that even though counterfeiters are not out to poison consumers, they still are very careless when it comes to screening ingredients.

"They will use anything that happens to look like the intended ingredient," the doctor explained. "Their products won't have gone through a robust safety assessment and could easily have been contaminated by microbes, or anything else, meaning consumers have no idea of their exact content, their safety or more importantly what harm they could do."

So what's a girl in need of makeup to do? Look out for our talk with Andrew Brodsky of global online brand protection firm NetNames, to learn how you can protect yourself from these harmful counterfeits.

This article was originally published on Fashion Times