What is the difference between a drug and a Cosmetic?
The simple answer is it depends on the claims you make for it. So if you sell a shampoo to treat dandruff, it is a cosmetic. If you say it cures psoriasis then that makes it a medicine. The more complicated answer is that if you present a product in such a way as it seems to be making medical claims then there is a good chance that the regulators will take notice and take action. This rule is pretty much a universal one. There are differences from market to market on just what will trigger off an enforcement, but the principle is always the same. Continue reading
I had imagined the UK’s much publicised microbead ban would be basically much like the legislation that is either already in force or well on the way around the world already. Despite all the recent evidence I still think of my fellow countryfolk as sensible pragmatists who don’t panic about things. So when I heard that UK parliament had brought in a ban on microbeads I wasn’t too bothered. Such a ban is already in force in a few countries and no doubt EU legislation will be along later. In any case everyone in the business knows the score and has already got rid of them or is well on the way to doing so. I’d assumed this was just a bit of window dressing by the government to be seen to be doing something to help the oceans given how popular the Blue Planet television series is proving to be. So I didn’t trouble to look up the details. I’d guessed it would be a ban on very small polythene beads and we’d have to switch to natural or biodegradable options, which is pretty much what we are already doing anyway. Continue reading
I am not religious, but I was struck once by something a Catholic priest said on the radio. He was talking about a seminar they had just had on morality. “It’s easy to agree on principles. The arguments start when you get into the details.” Well I don’t know about morals, but that is certainly true when it comes to cosmetic claims. The principle is pretty simple. You are only allowed to sell your product on the basis of legal, decent and truthful declarations. No argument there. The problems start when you actually start making those claims. Continue reading
This feels like the end of a chapter.
December 21, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued draft guidance recommending a limit of no more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of lead as an impurity in cosmetic lip products (such as lipsticks, lip glosses, and lip liners) and externally applied cosmetics (such as eye shadows, blushes, compact powders, shampoos, and body lotions).
So now at last we have the issue of lead in lipstick settled. This will now become a de facto world standard. Nobody wants to make stuff that is illegal in the US even if they don’t plan to sell in the US. And I imagine that the EU will quietly add this requirement to the EU legislation at some point anyway. Continue reading
There are an interesting couple of points in the comments thread on my blog post asking for MI not to become a scare story, from Suzanne. She has drawn my attention to a paper from 2012 that details developmental problems in tadpoles exposed to MI. She concludes from this that MI is potentially unsafe for humans as well and asks what the liability is for companies that continue to use it now that this risk has been identified. Continue reading
Candelilla wax often used to give a shiny coat
A paper in the most recent International Journal of Cosmetic Science has just drawn attention to a little noticed issue that has been bubbling away in the background of the cosmetic science world for a while. The issue is the use of long chain hydrocarbons in lip products. This sounds pretty formidable, but it is not really that complicated. Mineral oil is largely composed of long molecules that are composed of nothing more than chains of carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen atoms. This is about as simple as chemistry gets, and the chemistry of hydrocarbons has few surprises. The most interesting thing about them is that they make a good source of fuel. And the biggest use we put them to is to put them into cars and aeroplanes. Continue reading
There have always been people out to separate you from your money and prepared to say almost anything that will work to do so. Since the internet has been widespread there have been many more opportunities for small companies and simply unscrupulous individuals to sell stuff that just doesn’t do what it says. Continue reading
There is a news story that L’Oréal have issued a product recall for their Ideal Moisture Dry and Sensitive Day Cream in Canada. The reason is that the level of MI in it is higher than Health Canada’s regulations allow. This is quite a rare event – big cosmetic companies are usually pretty good at following regulations. Unfortunately Google has not revealed the details of just how much over they were. But the product has been on the market for three years so there is a good chance that they have simply failed to keep up with the regulations and that the product was legal when formulated and launched. They have shifted just under 60,000 units. Continue reading
The FDA’ s view on what constitutes the definition of a drug compared to a cosmetic is a longstanding one. A cosmetic is not supposed to either have or to claim physiological effect. This is a reasonable work in definition in so far as it goes. You can pick holes in it if you put your mind to it, but it gets the essence of how most people think of the difference. It has in any case not been something that the FDA gave a lot of attention to. Continue reading
I have been featured on the Beauty Brains podcast.
They asked me to do a ten minute segment on EU cosmetic regulations, which was fairly easy to do as I have been working with them for 30 odd years. It wasn’t easy to make interesting though, but the Brains guys do a great job of making the rather dull material interesting by interspersing their own commentary into what I said. I almost felt like I was in the room with them.
My full script is below.