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Regulation for Cosmetics

After decades of enjoying a business environment relatively free of regulation, the cosmetics/personal care industry will likely face increased scrutiny in the near future. It is something that both parties in Congress are working on, and the point is to strengthen safety standards in major product categories such as skin and hair care. Indeed, marketers can be fairly sure that if these two parties can agree on something, regulation is sure to follow.

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Consumer groups advocating for enhanced product safety have long worked for increased regulation as more consumers and researchers question the safety of some commonly-used cosmetic ingredients. In fact, the natural and organic products industry has flourished over the past 30 plus years in large part because its products address these concerns by not including these ingredients in the first place. But now these attitudes are reaching mainstream products, and lobbyists finally have the ears of legislators who are eager to show Americans that they can make compromises and that government can function the way it is supposed to function. In short, the personal care industry is in for some regulation.

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It remains unclear how the political and legal factors are going to play out, but there will almost certainly be bans on certain ingredients, government-commissioned studies conducted on other ingredients, and possibly more oversight into the types of product benefit claims that some marketers have been making about their products. In general "health" claims are considered non gratis since "cosmetic" products are not classified as "drugs",  a category wherein certain claims are pre-approved by government. But cosmetics marketers have been taking great liberties with product claims over the years, especially those operating in the aforementioned natural products sector; and so it would seem logical that some marketing communications scrutiny could arise from any pending regulatory activity. Regardless, marketers always must be prepared for any and all changes in the external marketing environment, and sometimes they haveample\ time to prepare for changes. This looks like one of those instances, and so for personal care marketers, there should be no surprises.


Discussion: Look up listings of "questionable" ingredients. Some have been banned in other countries. Now check the products in your household. Does this knowledge make you think twice about what you use?