Regulating cosmetics continues to be an important priority for
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although it remains to be
seen whether the new administration will take a different
The FDA issued 30 warning letters to cosmetics companies in
2016, the most in recent history. The FDA is concerned with
cosmetic claims that indicate that a product can affect a structure
or function of the human body, or treat, prevent or mitigate a
disease or its symptoms, as these claims indicate that a product is
a drug rather than a cosmetic. The FDA singled out claims that a
product could "promote collagen production," "reduce
all types of hyperpigmentation," "lighten the skin,"
"fade dark spots" and "stimulate cell renewal."
The FDA found that these claims rendered the products to be new and
In July 2017, the initial provisions of the Microbead-Free
Waters Act of 2015 will go into effect. That means that, on July
1st, manufacturers no longer will be able to produce cosmetics
containing microbeads within the United States. By January 1, 2018,
all cosmetics that contain microbeads will be banned from sale.
Microbeads are solid plastic particles that are less than five
millimeters in size and are used for the purpose of exfoliating and
cleansing. Microbeads are present in hundreds of cosmetic products
and do not dissolve when rinsed off, leading to pollution in oceans
It is unclear whether the new administration will impact the
FDA's increasingly conservative approach to cosmetics
Companies should continue to vet all new product packaging,
marketing and websites to ensure compliance with FDA regulations
and review existing packaging and claims through a more
Companies that have not already done so, should review their
product formulations to ensure that they will cease manufacturing
cosmetics containing microbeads by July 1, 2017, and should clear
current stocks of products containing microbeads by January 1,
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