The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says an increasing number of cosmetics companies are improperly promoting their products as drugs.
The agency said its tracking of claims by cosmetics companies during recent years indicated a proliferation in drugs claims--defined by the FDA as "intended to treat or prevent disease, or change the body’s structure or functions"--on product packaging and in web advertising.
The agency issued warning letters to companies regarding skin and hair products indicating they should either remove those claims or seek FDA approval. Further agency action could include removing the product from the market.
Cosmetics, by contrast, do not require FDA approval and should only reference appearances in their packaging or advertising. The FDA noted some cosmetics products have pledged everything from treatment of medical conditions to cell restoration.
"Consumers need to know that these drug claims have not been proven to FDA when they are making a decision to purchase one of these products," said FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors Director Linda Katz.