Our skin, the largest organ of the human body, protects us in many ways. Amazingly, it is also porous, allowing the body's waste to be eliminated and allowing substances to be absorbed.

 

Regulation

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the cosmetic industry, which includes all bath and body care products, such as shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, cologne, perfume, etc.

According to the FDA, "With the exception of colors and certain prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use essentially any raw material in a product and market it without prior FDA approval." (FDA, 2005) Of the over 10,000 ingredients used in cosmetics, the FDA has prohibited 8 ingredients and allows restricted use of 3 ingredients. By comparison, for cosmetic products, the European Union prohibits the use of over 1,300 ingredients classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction and restricts approximately 60 ingredients.

 

How to Read a Cosmetic Labels

Federal Law requires all cosmetic labels to list ingredients in descending order of amounts. The good news: if we are educated consumers we can select only healthy products that meet our own personal standards. Need help knowing what to look for?

The guides below will help you read labels so you can better protect your family. Learn what ingredients to avoid in both personal care and cosmetic products. We also have a list of ingredients that we recommend you avoid, products they are commonly found in, and alternatives that are safer for your family and for the planet. 

Published on January 31, 2017

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