Regardless of your skin type, you need to use products that do more benefit to your skin than harm. While shopping for your ideal beauty product, take heed to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warning about lotions, skin creams and soaps that have mercury.

What is the best way to determine if a cosmetic product has mercury—in particular those labeled as skin lightening or anti-aging? Just look at the label and see if you can find the terms mercury, mercuric, mercurio, calomel or mercurous chloride. If you see any of these terms in the product, then it means it has mercury, and you need to stop using it.

These products are usually sold as anti-aging products and skin lighteners that eliminate freckles, blemishes, spots and wrinkles. Some teenagers use products like these for acne.

The FDA’s Office Regulatory Affairs representative Jason Humbert claims these products are made overseas and are marketed illegally in the US.  Ethnic shops targeting Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern and African communities often sell these products. Social media sites and other online outlets also market these products. Some people buy these products overseas and bring them back to the United States.

You can’t just assume a product is okay if the ingredients are not listed. It’s against federal law to fail to disclose the ingredients of a nonprescription or cosmetic product. So if the product has no ingredients listed, it is highly recommended you do not use the product Also, don’t use products that have ingredients listed in another language because that’s also a sign of an illegally marketed product.

These products may be marketed as cosmetic products, but they are not FDA-approved.  The only time the FDA allows mercury to be used in a drug or cosmetics is when that’s the only alternative for an efficient preservative. However, this is not the case in these illegal products.

Injunctions, enforcement action, legal seizure of all merchandise, and criminal prosecution are possible consequences for distributors and sellers who market these products.

Mercury is dangerous

The negative consequences of using mercury go far beyond that of the person using the product. It also affects the entire environment where the product is used.

Mercury vapors can be inhaled that are released from the products. Also, people in the house can touch objects like towels or washcloths that have absorbed the vapors.  Pregnant women and women who are nursing are vulnerable to mercury poisoning because the mercury can affect the unborn baby’s brain and nervous system, and it can be passed on to breast milk if a mother is breastfeeding. Other populations, including young children may be highly vulnerable to mercury poisoning.

Drugs or Cosmetics?

August 28, 2016

Americans spend quite a bit of money on lotions, creams and cosmetic products that offer a promise of improved eyelashes, hair and skin. In many cases, these promises go too far in what they have to offer the consumer.

The FDA or Food and Drug Administration warns those that make cosmetics to be careful when they make claims about product and to classify them as drugs and not cosmetics. The FDA has sent warning letters citing drug claims associated with hair care, topical skin care, eyebrows, and eyelashes. These claims were found on websites as well as product labels. Some examples of drug claims are for dandruff treatments, acne treatments, as well as restoration of hair.

The letters say that the products on the market have drug claims. Meaning that the product is intended to prevent or treat a disease or change body functions or structure. The FDA wants companies to remove drug claims from products or seek the FDA approval to market cosmetic products as drugs.

Consumers need to know that drug claims on these products are not approved by the FDA when they decide to buy one of the products says MPH, director of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, Linda M. Katz, M.D. The FDA must evaluate the products as drugs before the company can claim that the product treats skin problems or changes the skin.

Drug claims have gone as far as to say the product changes elastin or college of the skin. Other claims include that the product prevents wrinkles or allows for firmer and more elastic skin.

Some products say that there’s regeneration of cells, reduce inflammation, less facial muscle contractions or give you the same results as surgery or injections. Conditions like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and acne are promise dot be treated.

Drugs or Cosmetics?

The federal law sates that a cosmetic is designed for beautifying, cleansing, altering appearance or promoting attractiveness. The FDA is not required for approval before these products go to the market.

Drugs are defines as products intended to cure, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or treat a disease or condition. A drug is also said to affect the structure or function of the body. Drugs need FDA approval in most cases before they can be marketed to consumers.

Many companies have crossed the line and stated that their products will enhance a person’s appearance or that the structural appearance of the skin and will prevent or treat certain medical conditions.

For several years the FDA has been tracking claims that have been made about cosmetic products and there are many claims on the Internet or on product packages that simple aren’t true. If a product is making a drug claim then they have to be evaluated as a drug and not a cosmetic product.

If a company can’t comply then more action besides a warning letter is taken and the product may be removed from the marketplace altogether.