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You are here: Skin Care Ingredient Guide > FDA and Cosmetics / Skin Care

FDA and Cosmetics / Skin Care

Most countries have governmental agencies responsible, at least nominally, for regulating skin care and cosmetics. Since covering all countries is beyond our scope, we have compiled the data obtained from and/or related to the US FDA. While regulations elsewhere are somewhat similar, there are also important differences from country to country.

Overall, FDA pays less attention to cosmetics than drugs. (Note that FDA views skin care products as cosmetics). Indeed, a substandard cosmetics / skin care product, while a waste of money, is less likely to be a serious health hazard. However, FDA does prohibit or restrict a number of ingredients from use (see prohibited ingredients list). All other ingredients (raw materials) are allowed.

In the US, cosmetics is regulated by Subchapter VI of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It is the role of the FDA to oversee the compliance with these regulations. However, as opposed to drugs, cosmetic products do not require verifiable, mandatory compliance (such as FDA approval) before they can be marketed.

Below we have categorized various resources related to FDA and cosmetics. (This is not an exhaustive listing.)

Laws and Regulations

FDA Authority Over Cosmetics and Skin Care
The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act
Regulations Related to Cosmetics

FDA Communications to Consumers

Diethanolamine and Cosmetic Products
Phthalates and Cosmetic Products
Shelf Life and Expiration Date
Animal Testing
Cosmetic Ingredients Prohibited and Restricted by FDA


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