FDA and Congress Crack Down on Cosmetics Industry

Crack down on cosmetics

Photo: Getty Images

Crack down on cosmetics.

As skincare and cosmetic technology gets more and more advanced, something as formerly simple as a eye cream becomes less about a bit of moisture and more about the list of often unpronounceable ingredients.

“Cosmeceuticals,” a catchall term used to describe a variety of skincare products, has no legal definition at the moment—but that might be changing very soon.

The Food and Drug Administration, Congress and the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureau are taking a closer look at the cosmetics industry and its claims, Ad Age reports, as the line between cosmetics and drugs blurs.

Topical creams of the past, for example, don’t have the incredibly small particles—touted as deeply penetrating and therefore more effective—that today’s products have. Michael Landa, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says the organization is currently researching whether some of these particles that penetrate the skin might become toxic when exposed to sunlight.

Equally unsettling for beauty buffs is the statistic that only 10 cosmetic ingredients are banned in the United States, while the European Union has banned 1,200. (Looks like we need a trip to the French pharmacies, stat.)

Luckily, the Obama administration has proposed enhanced monitoring of the cosmetics industry, which would include the mandatory registering of all ingredients. Until then, we’ll just be buying all the Tata Harper we can get our hands on…