Has Cosmetics Marketing Gone Too Far?

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I’ve always been of the mind that cosmetics companies should only be allowed to advertise what their products actually do. Use makeup artists, gorgeous models, and professional photographers all you want, but don’t stick on 2 false lash strips and tell me it’s mascara.

I’m very pleased that in the UK there have been some controls put in place by the Advertising Standards Authority to prevent these misleading practices, or at least to identify them on the ads. We haven’t had any similar legislation in the USA, but it’s something I’d like to see in the future.

What is happening  is that the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) is coming down hard on cosmetics companies who make drug-like claims for their products. See, in the USA you can claim your cosmetic product makes things look better with no issues at all. But if you claim that your product changes the “structure or any function of the human body”, it’s classified as a drug instead of a cosmetic. Drugs have a much more burdensome approval process, and their marketing/advertising is more strictly controlled.

This is posing big problems for brands that want to promote their skincare products as being backed by science. I think we’ve all seen skincare that’s “clinically proven” to increase cell regeneration, reconstruct the skin barrier, boost collagen production, etc. Those sound like drug claims to me, so I’m glad the FDA is calling out companies on this issue. Especially since these pseudo-scientific claims are usually complete garbage.

In case you’re interested, here’s the letter the FDA sent to Lancome’s president last week.

 What are your thoughts on this issue?

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