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WHAT ARE “COSMECEUTICALS”?

September 03, 2019 / KATIE MCCALLUM

The term “cosmeceutical” has become popular in recent years to describe a cosmetic product that claims medicinal benefits. While those in the cosmetic industry use the term to advertise the ingredients and benefits of their products, the FDA does not legally recognize the term. According to the FD&C Act, drugs are “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)], while a cosmetic is anything “applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)]. Once a product has made a claim that it’s intended use will affect some function of the body, such as restore hair growth or regenerate cells for anti-aging purposes, then it has crossed the line into what the FDA defines as a drug.