The Validated Hypoallergenic Cosmetics Rating System: Its 30-year Evolution and Effect on the Prevalence of Cosmetic Reactions

Its 30-Year Evolution and Effect on the Prevalence of Cosmetic Reactions

Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell


Dermatitis. 2011;22(2):80-97. 

In This Article

Cosmetic Classification and Labeling

The US FDA and most regulatory bodies worldwide classify products as cosmetics or drugs and do not recognize "cosmeceuticals." A cosmetic product improves the look and smell of skin. Once manufacturers claim that a product also treats or prevents disease or otherwise affects the structure or function of the skin, the product is classified as both a drug (over the counter [OTC] or prescription) and a cosmetic. Toothpastes that contain fluoride, deodorants that also serve as antiperspirants, and antidandruff shampoos act as cosmetics but are also classified as drugs because of their intention to treat. A sunscreen is classified as a cosmetic in Europe but as an OTC drug in the United States; moisturizers and makeup products that are marketed with sun-protection claims are therefore also OTC drugs. Drug ingredients are listed alphabetically as "active ingredients." Cosmetic ingredients are listed in order of predominance (amount). In the United States, the ingredients' International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients names are used. This label appears prominently, usually (but not always) in the information panel on the back of the product's packaging.[49]