Wrinkle creams to face stricter guidelines on the claims they can make in advertisements
20:44 GMT, 23 April 2012
Cosmetic companies are due to come under closer scrutiny in the claims they make in advertising campaigns and on packaging information.
The move may give regulators the same sort of powers that drug companies face.
The fast-paced technological advances in commercial products mean that the regulatory bodies have to play catch-up.
Far-fetched claims: The statements cosmetic companies can make about their products – particularly wrinkle creams – are to be more closely monitored
Many guidelines are simply out of date.
For example, the use of retinol – an anti-wrinkle component – was not listed before 2005, despite it featuring in around 200 products, reports Advertising Age.
The study cites two cases by the National Advertising Division who found unrealistic claims in the promotional activity of two major cosmetic companies.
Lancome, owned by L'Oreal, and Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, stated that their anti-wrinkle creams could refill lines in an hour or remove them for up to a week.
The agency found these claims were untrue.
Both companies objected to the decision but said they'd take the findings into account in any future advertising.
The agency also highlights the increased use of 'nanotechnology' – tiny particles which work differently and penetrate deeper than older chemicals, and may become toxic when exposed to sunlight.
Director Michael Landa said that the new focus is also a result of the more aggressive marketing of brands and blurring of boundaries between drugs and cosmetics.
'The industry often refers to these products as “cosmeceuticals”,' said Mr Landa.
Though that term 'has no legal or regulatory definition in the U.S.,' it could lead to some anti-aging creams crossing the line to be classified and regulated like drugs.
The U.S. regulatory body has been seen as too lax compared to other, more stringent countries.
Only 10 cosmetic ingredients are banned in the U.S. compared to around 1,200 in Europe.
The Obama administration has lent its
budgetary force to the task, with a proposed $19million for enhanced
monitoring of an industry that is worth around $60million in the U.S.