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Mislabeling: The FDA and the The No-No Words

A lot of cosmetic brands seem to have a “No-No List” of ingredients. I think it is time for a list of “No-No” words – because, you know, FDA and “mislabeling”.

The basic thing you need to keep in mind is that unless you are selling a registered, approved DRUG, you may not any use words that promise a medical outcome. That is considered mislabeling and mislabeling is against the law. So – here is a partial list of “No-No” words:

  • HealMislabeling
  • Healing
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Cures
  • Penetrates to (heal, sooth, etc.)
  • Stimulates circulation …
  • Treats
  • Alleviates eczema, rosacea, scarring, acne, etc
  • Improves circulation
  • Minimizes
  • Improves the skin’s immunity
  • Boosts collagen
  • Protects from UV Rays (this = sunblock – and must be registered with the FDA)
  • Protects against infection
  • Cellular regeneration

Oh, I could go on. What these all have in common is what the FDA calls a “structure-function claim”. Structure = a body part (skin, muscle) and Function = changing the physiology of that body part. These sorts of claims = DRUGS and are seen is mislabeling by the FDA. The USDA-FDA makes a lot of money approving drugs so if you have not sent them a couple 100,000 dollars, you are probably not selling a drug.

Look at your website – are you making structure-function claims? If so – use that wonderful, free thesaurus on Google and fix it before you get a scary letter from the FDA. You can “change the appearance of”, you can “sooth the symptoms of” you can do all sorts of things, but no structure function claims! You do not want a letter from FDA accusing you of mislabeling.

The organic and natural cosmetic industry needs to look good in the eyes of the law. We do not need big manufacturers telling the FDA that we should be heavily licensed or regulated. We need room to grow. Know the laws. Respect them. Do good work.

Hugs Resources: Choose Your Words Link to FDA Article

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