The cosmetics contain a substance called rhododenol (4HPB), a synthetic version developed by Kanebo of a natural compound, the company said.
The recall took place in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The company has produced 4.36 million items for the Japanese market and is recalling 450,000 that have already been sold to consumers as well as all its inventory.
The company will also recall products on sale abroad. A total of 370,000 items have been sent to international markets, but at present it plans to recall only items that are on sale.
“The problem was initially thought to be a type of skin disease, but there was a growing concern about a link to 4HPB,” a Kanebo spokesman said.
“Some consumers complained they had white patches on their skin after using the products, and we suspect a link between the condition and 4HPB.”
There have been 39 complaints from customers in Japan. Of those, 15 have shown no improvement in their condition despite having stopped use of the products, he said.
Tomio Onishi, the president of Kanebo Cosmetics (Thailand), said 4HPB is only one ingredient in Kanebo products.
Since 2010, only 39 users or 0.0156 per cent of 250,000 customers have complained about rashes, and the company cannot say for sure whether the substance caused such side effects. It is conducting tests.
Mr Onishi said nine products containing 4HPB are sold in Thailand. Customers may return items to the shops where they bought them.