Study Highlights the Beauty Industry’s Ugly Side

When you buy a new eye makeup or shampoo, you want it to be safe and not trigger skin outbreaks – or worse.


Study Highlights the Beauty Industry’s Ugly Side

However, a new study indicates that this is not always the case. Additionally, because cosmetics are grossly underregulated in the United States and there is no robust system in place to detect when personal care goods are hazardous, it is conceivable that you will never learn about a product’s issue, the study found.  

Here is the Beauty Industry’s Ugly Side that the investigator found out.

According to the study’s principal author, Dr. Steve Xu, a US Food and Drug Administration complaint database has just 5,144 adverse occurrences recorded in connection with cosmetics between 2004 and 2016. He is a dermatologist at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.

“Here we have a $400 billion business with millions of goods and several issues, yet we had only around 5,000 adverse occurrences over 12 years,” Xu explained. “That is a colossal underreporting.”

Just one example demonstrates how grossly underreported cosmetics-related health issues are, Xu added.

The FDA started an inquiry into a shampoo/conditioner named WEN in 2014 after receiving 127 consumer complaints of hair loss, brittle hair, bald spots, irritation, and rashes, according to Xu and his colleagues.

The FDA discovered throughout the inquiry that WEN’s maker, Chaz Dean Cleansing Solutions, had received nearly 21,000 complaints of hair loss and scalp discomfort, according to the study’s authors.

Cosmetics producers are not obligated to notify the FDA of health-related complaints, Xu explained. As a result, the FDA was unaware of an issue with the product until customers contacted the agency directly.

As a result of this lawsuit, the FDA decided in December 2016 to make a database of adverse event reports kept by its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition publicly available for the first time, Xu said. Consumer complaints on meals, dietary supplements, and cosmetics are stored in the database.

“That was a fantastic chance for us to examine what the database had to say,” Xu explained. “Unfortunately, it was a little sum.”

The researchers discovered that complaints averaged approximately 400 per year, far less than expected considering the frequency of cosmetics-related scandals.

Between 2015 and 2016, complaints more than quadrupled, increasing from 706 to 1,591 recorded adverse occurrences. However, Xu noted that the rise occurred in response to an FDA public appeal requesting consumers and dermatologists to report health issues associated with WEN.

“We saw an uptick in reports as a result of this call to action,” Xu explained.

The investigators discovered that hair care items received the most complaints in the database, followed by skincare goods. The majority of reported health concerns were rashes, hair loss, and other dermatological disorders, although more serious diseases such as cancer and severe allergic responses were also mentioned.

The cosmetics business is mainly self-regulated under existing legislation, according to Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

“It is up to the corporations to police themselves with all of these items, and I believe that the market polices them in various ways when things go wrong,” Day added.

Xu stated that he is not an alarmist and does not believe cosmetics should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as new drugs or medical devices.

“Cosmetic goods have a reduced risk inherent in them,” Xu explained. “To need a clinical trial for every moisturizer that enters the market is both impracticable and absurd.”

However, new legislation may give the FDA improved options for responding to defective goods, Xu added.

For instance, the FDA cannot now mandate the obligatory recall of a dangerous cosmetic, and producers are not obligated to communicate customer complaints with authorities, Xu explained.

The European Union takes a far more aggressive approach to consumer cosmetics regulation, Xu explained.

“They have prohibited the use of over 1,000 substances. We’ve only prohibited ten “As Xu stated. “They’ve taken a proactive approach to chemical safety, putting the onus on producers to demonstrate the safety of their cosmetic goods.”

Meanwhile, customers may safeguard themselves by exercising caution when using abrasives such as face scrubs or harsh treatments containing glycolic, salicylic, or retinoic acid, Day explained.

“They’re applying too much or stacking too many of these things,” Day explained. “Applying it to damaged skin, such as tanned, burnt, or inflamed skin. Or by using them excessively frequently — they believe that once a day is sufficient, but five times daily is preferable.”

Individuals who are concerned about a product should do a “patch test,” putting it in a tiny area on the inside of their forearm.

“Because there is a somewhat insensitive region, if it reacts there, it is more likely to have an allergic reaction,” she explained.

To sum up, besides the strengths of beauty industry, we cannot ignore the Beauty Industry’s Ugly Side