Cosmetics Write For Us – It is common to confuse a cosmetic product with medicine, which can lead to imsignificantegal breaches. Although we all know how to identify a cosmetic, it is sometimes difficult to determine if it could have medicinal use.
What is a cosmetic?
Any substance or preparation intended to be brought into contact with the various superficial parts of the human body (epidermis, hair and capillary system, nails, lips, and external genital organs) or with the teeth and oral mucosa. With the exclusive or primary purpose of cleaning them, perfuming them, modifying their appearance, or keeping them in good condition.
In summary, cosmetic product is used for hygiene (toiletries such as shaving creams, deodorants, soaps, and shampoos…)and the body’s beauty (make-up, perfumes, nail polishes…).
They are usually applied topically (cutaneously).
What is medicine?
Regulation (EC) No. 726/2004 on human and veterinary medicines maintains the definition of DIRECTIVE 2001/83/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a community code on medicines for human use, according to the what is a drug.
“ any substance or combination of substances that is presented as possessing curative or preventive properties concerning human diseases;
Medicines shall also considered as all substances or combinations of substances that can be administered to man to establish a medical diagnosis or to restore, correct or modify the physiological functions of man;”
So, Cosmetic or Medicine?
As a general rule, products that claim to have a therapeutic effect (for example, to prevent or treat diseases), or that contain certain active ingredients that are not allowed in cosmetics are considered drugs/medications.
Due to this fact, they must be subject to their own rules and controls.
Consequently, to know if a product is a cosmetic or a medicine, it will be necessary to see if our cosmetic product claims to have any therapeutic effect or if it has an active ingredient that is not allowed in cosmetics.
Are there products that can be cosmetic and medicine at the same time?
There are products that are sometimes difficult to classify as cosmetics or solely as medicines. They are called “cosmeceuticals”, although this word not recognized by law.
A very common example would be acne-fighting creams. This type of product usually has an antibiotic component to treat pimples (medication) and, on the other hand, improves the appearance of the skin (cosmetic).
In this sense, the difference between cosmetics and medication focused both on the form of administration and on the purpose or use.
Products that meet both the definition of cosmetics and drugs
“Cosmeceuticals” typically have at least two intended uses.
Everyday examples to understand it better would be the following:
- Shampoo: when its use is to clean the hair, it is a cosmetic. If it also allows “treating” dandruff or hair loss, it will also be a medicine.
- Deodorants:they are antiperspirants but they also smell good.
- Makeups: they have an aesthetic use. But those that also contain sun protection (UV filters) given a preventive use characteristic of medicines.
In these cases, the legal requirements must met either for cosmetics or medicines, according to the effects and uses claimed on the label.
If I am a manufacturer, importer or person responsible for placing a cosmetic product on the market. How can I determine if it is a cosmetic or a medicine?
In order to know if the product is a cosmetic, a medicine or a combination of the two, it will be necessary to establish the uses.
The simplest way would be from the indications or advertising claims or provided for labeling.
It will be a medicine when its intended use is to treat or prevent diseases establishing claims such as:
- “It stimulates hair growth”,
- “Reduces cellulite”,
- “Reduces varicose veins”
Making this what the consumer expects from the product.
A particular case is that of products such as essential oils. If it marketed as a fragrance to add value to the cosmetic, in terms of attractiveness, it will be a cosmetic. But if this essential oil sold for aromatherapy, to help you sleep, it is a medicine.
Continuing with the oils. When it comes to massage oils with the aim of lubricating the skin and giving fragrance, it will be a cosmetic. Instead, if the product has an intended therapeutic use, such as relieving muscle pain, it will be a medicine.
The same goes for soaps. When the soap allows to cure, treat or prevent diseases, it will not be a cosmetic only.
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