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Monday, December 3, 2012

Wrinkles and FDA Cosmetic Update

It has been many months since we’ve posted anything on cosmetic regulations. This edition is to make you aware of recent FDA enforcement actions and some proposed legislation that you should be aware of.

We have had discussions with many of our clients about ‘wrinkle claims’.  Typically we note that cosmetic regulations allow claims regarding how a product cleanses, beautifies, promotes attractiveness, or alters appearance or fragrance and that claims about wrinkle reduction are therapeutic or drug claims.  Many of you have responded with questions similar to ‘what about all the big guys and the stuff they say in their commercials?’  Well, a few of the big guys received warning letters from FDA regarding their claims.

In October FDA sent Avon a warning letter regarding claims made on their website about their Anew line of products. The letter lists a number of claims including
“Rebuild collagen to help plump out lines and wrinkles.
Stimulate elastin to help improve elasticity and resilience.
Regenerate hydroproteins to help visibly minimize creasing.”
The letter also notes claims comparing Avon products to botox and goes on to say, “Your products are not generally recognized among qualified experts as safe and effective for the above referenced uses and, therefore, the products are new drugs as defined in section 201(p) of the [Food Drug and Cosmetic] Act.”

In September Lancôme also received a warning letter noting numerous drug claims on their Genefique line of products.  While one claim cited in the letter did discuss wrinkles, “See significant deep wrinkle reduction in UV damaged skin, clinically proven,” the Lancôme website claimed that their products stimulate stem cells.  It may be that it was the stem cell claims that prompted FDA to act but the fact that wrinkle claims were also cited is noteworthy.

Cosmetics may be promoted to reduce the appearance of wrinkles but not to repair, correct, plump or make them go away.

Now for the future: Last April US Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey introduced a Bill in the US House of Representatives.  The Cosmetic Safety Amendments Act of 2012 proposes “to establish new procedures and requirements for the registration of the cosmetic product manufacturing establishments, the submission of cosmetic product and ingredient statements, and the reporting of serious and unexpected cosmetic product adverse events, and for other purposes.” 

For a number of years FDA has had the Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP) in place.  This program is ‘regulations light’ but mirrors the drug listing and registration program.  I have heard rumors that cosmetic good manufacturing practice regulations have been written but have not seen them published this year; which is not surprising since much in government was on hold in 2012 due to the Presidential election and remains on hold awaiting the outcome of Congressional efforts to address looming budget cuts and tax changes. Nevertheless, it is important for cosmetic companies to be aware that they will be affected by future increased regulation.

To read an intelligent and information article about the legislation, visit FDALawBlog at

I hope you find these periodic posts informative and interesting.  If you  would like to be added to our newsletter distribution list, please reply to this post. 

Contact us with any questions you have regarding cosmetic, food or dietary supplement regulations.

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