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Industry Personal care
Founded 1980
Headquarters Japan
Area served
Products Cosmetics and beauty products
Parent Procter & Gamble

SK-II (pronounced S-K-Two) is a Japanese multinational prestige beauty brand launched in 1980. It is owned by Procter & Gamble and is sold and marketed as a premium skin care solution in East Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.[1] One of its main competitors is the long established fellow Japanese company Shiseido. SK-II claims the active ingredients can make skin younger and marketing supports claims of visible improvements within one month, although this has not been scientifically proven.[citation needed]


Australian actress and director Cate Blanchett is the face of the product in the West.[2]


SK-II was developed by Japanese scientists during the 1970s, who were looking into using more naturally derived ingredients. While observing workers at a sake brewery, they observed that elderly workers had wrinkled faces that showed their age, but their hands were smooth, clear and younger looking from years of submerging their hands in the fermented yeast. After much research and development, the strain of naturally occurring yeast was isolated for use.[1]


In September 2006, the People's Republic of China halted all imports of SK-II products, after a consumer found traces of neodymium and chromium. Both are banned in cosmetics, and can cause allergic dermatitis and eczema. P&G withdrew several of the affected products; however, there was much confusion on P&G's initial status on the subject. One employee was quoted as stating: "We believe only a small batch of products suffered the problem", however, P&G's official press release defended the amount of the heavy metals found in the products as being "safe" and "insignificant to human health". Nonetheless, P&G withdrew several affected products, but continued selling the rest of the line, requiring consumers to sign a "safe product" agreement, in which they recognize that the SK-II products they bought are safe and release P&G of liability.[3] However, by the end of that week, P&G had suspended sale of the brand altogether, shutting down its stores and pulling all products (including refund centers for affected items) from counters.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Birth of an Icon: SK-II". Procter & Gamble. 26 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Pieri, Kerry (4 January 2013). "Beauty Diary: SK-II Face Cate Blanchett". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  3. ^ "China to halt imports of SK-II if problems show up again - China - News Brief". Newsgd. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 

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