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by Palden Lhamo
June 22, 2020
As the modern-day consumers take a holistic approach to self-care and wellness, they are looking to brands that value transparency in their product ingredients, and ethical practices as a company. Through the instantaneous access to knowledge via technology today, consumers can educate themselves on information surrounding health, and consequently, have become increasingly conscious of their daily wellbeing, which is not largely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
In 2019, the skincare market was valued at $5.9 billion, according to The NPD Group, and is predicted to grow by 5.4% annually. Whereas, the clean beauty industry, which are products created without ingredients shown or suspected to harm human health, consists of only 13% of high-end skincare sales. According to Women's Facial Skincare Consumer Report from The NPD Group, "46 percent of facial skincare users report purchasing products free of sulfates, phthalates and/or gluten, representing a 6 point up-tick over the past two years." As consumers become mindful of the products they use daily, they are demanding greater transparency from companies, as seen in the rising trend of clean beauty.
However, in the United States, laws established under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, still have not advanced following the positive shift in culture towards maintaining complete transparency and health awareness. Today, U.S. regulations do not adequately protect consumers from exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins from products used on a ritual basis. Also, companies are not being held accountable when falsely advertising their products as "natural." The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only banned 11 chemicals by law when there are more than 1,400 toxins like parabens, coal tar, and polyacrylamide that have not been regulated in personal care products. Furthermore, the FDA still does not require companies to undergo testing the safety of cosmetic products and only reviews voluntary reports on cosmetics-related injuries. Without an official government statute, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review does not have the responsibility to analyze how chemicals hidden under the label 'fragrance' can make consumers susceptible to high risks of cancer and reproductive effects.
Whereas the European Union has firmly established laws for corporations to comply within its 28 nations. Unlike the U.S., the EU Cosmetics Directive officially bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that cause cancer and reproductive issues such as congenital disabilities and infertility. Also, European regulations do require companies to undergo safety evaluations, pre-register their products, monitor the market, and have abolished animal testing.
American legislators should be aware of today's savvy and connected consumer market that truly requires having the finest and highest quality products that honor their bodies and health-conscious values. Until then, LaBruna Skincare, a female-owned natural skincare line, is paving the movement, as its line, Nina by LaBruna Skincare's products, are all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free and free of synthetic gluten, phthalates, sulfates, parabens, artificial colors, and fragrances. Purchasing clean and safe skincare is a choice that today's self-compassionate consumers are empowered to stand by, even though the FDA still does not hold authoritative jurisdiction.
American consumers deserve laws that protect their well being; however, until there are regulations to hold corporations accountable for falsely advertised products with delusive labels, which hide toxic fragrances, consumers must educate themselves and find trustworthy brands.
Larissa Jensen, the executive director and beauty industry analyst of The NPD Group, states, "Consumers are using their spending power to ensure their voice is heard and supporting brands that commit to natural ingredients and transparency." In the meantime, initiatives like the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database are providing resources to consumers to self regulate their product choices to avoid exposure to potentially toxic chemicals in personal care and beauty products.
“Empowered Consumers Want Clean Ingredients and Brand Transparency from Skincare Products.” NPD, The NPD Group, Inc./Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report 2019, 14 Aug. 2019, www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2019/empowered-consumers-want-clean-ingredients-and-brand-transparency-from-skincare-products/.
EWG, Environmental Working Group, 2020, www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2019/03/cosmetics-safety-us-trails-more-40-nationssafecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/regulations/international-laws.
“EWG Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database.” EWG's Skin Deep, EWG, 2020, www.ewg.org/skindeep/.
“Prohibited & Restricted Ingredients in Cosmetics.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 2017, www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/prohibited-restricted-ingredients-cosmetics.
“Skin Care - United States: Statista Market Forecast.” Statista, 2020, www.statista.com/outlook/70020000/109/skin-care/united-states.
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