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
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued draft guidance recommending a limit of no more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of lead as an impurity in cosmetic lip products (such as lipsticks, lip glosses, and lip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
Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish
Christmas 2016 is over, and like a lot of people for me the next item on the agenda is getting rid of all the rubbish. I am particularly aware of it this year having read an article in the Biologist over the holiday by freelance naturalist Rajith Dissanayake. Despite the popularity of naturalness and general greenery we still produce one heck of a lot of plastic. I can certainly vouch for that as I have tried to squeeze of lot of it into my bin. Rajith quotes the figure that the average American produces around 2.5Kg of plastic waste per day, and us Europeans can’t be far behind.
Liver paté is a source of vitamin A
The EU has a rather Byzantine way of regulating cosmetics. The rules are set by the European Commission in Brussels. This is run by the commissioners, of whom there are 28 one from each state. They have what strikes me as quite a modest sized staff and they don’t employ any scientists specifically to look at cosmetics and indeed don’t have a department that dedicated to the industry. So the regulations are drawn up by general bureaucrats. 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
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.
There is a concept in the software business called the minimum viable product. This is the barebones of an application that does just enough to enable it to get onto the market so the concept can be tested. This is an interesting idea in the fast moving world of information technology where change is so fast that nobody knows what is going to work until it has been tried out. Continue reading
When I was reviewing Bomb Cosmetics Chocolate Ballotin Assortment I made a reference to the problem that might potentially face with this product. Cosmetics that look like food risk getting pulled up under legislation that forbids non-food products from being made that might fool someone into thinking that they are food. The motivation behind this seems to be to prevent people passing off stuff that isn’t edible as a foodstuff, but the wording could be interpreted as banning any attempt to mimic food. Continue reading