The Truth About the Poorly Regulated Cosmetic Industry in the US

Many people can glance down at their personal care products and not think twice about the cocktail of chemicals that make up the ingredient list. With the average woman in the US using about twelve personal care items daily, the number of chemicals absorbing into your body adds up quickly. If you are like me, you are probably thinking right now, “How are all these chemicals allowed in my everyday products? They must not be that bad, right?”.


It wasn’t until I was talking with my friends about the beauty industry when we finally started questioning the regulation around cosmetic products. We wanted to know if there Is anyone out there making sure that what we are putting on our body daily is not harmful to our wellbeing. We thought surely that no government would let a billion-dollar industry run free without any rules. Unfortunately, that is not the case.


The more research I did to find the truth, the more astonished I became with not only the lack of regulation, but also the lack of care for the general public’s health. To give some insights to my disappointing findings, essentially, The Federal Food and Drug (FDA) is supposed to be responsible for the regulation of the cosmetic industry under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


However, since the act come into effect in 1938, the organization has only banned nine chemicals from use. This lack of oversight seems strange as scientists know so much more now about the toxins in chemicals and how they can negatively affect us. Still, more than 12,000 chemicals are approved for use today, even with evidence against use for a lot of them.


Since the FDA doesn’t assess the safety or even the ingredients of personal care products, the industry is largely self-regulated. The cosmetic industry essentially set up a meager attempt to fill the hole left from the lack of government regulation.  They created the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) to create rules for the industry. Yet, since the Cosmetic Industry funds CIR’s work, the cosmetics industry oversees itself. Ultimately, it is still up to the companies to decide if they want to follow the rules set by the CIR.


As there is no authority over-regulation, many companies do not keep consumer safety in mind when formulating their products. For example, carcinogens that are proven to be cancer-causing have been found repeatedly in everyday cosmetics. Therefore, you can see that the lack of regulation and company greed for profits by using cheap formulas loaded with hazardous chemicals leaves the consumer widely unprotected.


If you have ever had an allergic reaction, rash or other skin conditions after applying cosmetic products, you now know what the issue is. The regulation standard or lack thereof, for the cosmetic industry, does not seem to be changing anytime soon. It is the way it has been for decades and will take a major shift in consumer purchasing power to change the action of big companies.


What can you do now to solve this problem and to avoid as many toxins as possible? Stray away from big brand names that have products with an extensive ingredient list.  Switch your focus to finding products that are simple and natural. By investing in clean beauty makeup products, you will be provided not only with a non-toxic formulation, but also a dose of nourishment with every use.