What are cosmetics? How are they different from over-the-counter (OTC) drugs?


Cosmetics are put on the body to:

  • cleanse it
  • make it beautiful
  • make it attractive
  • change its appearance or the way it looks

Cosmetic products include:

  • skin creams
  • lotions
  • perfumes
  • lipsticks
  • fingernail polishes
  • eye and face make-up products
  • permanent waves
  • hair dyes
  • toothpastes
  • deodorants

Unlike drugs, which are used to treat or prevent disease in the body, cosmetics do not change or affect the body’s structure or functions.


What’s in cosmetics?

Fragrances and preservatives are the main ingredients in cosmetics. Fragrances are the most common cause of skin problems. More than 5,000 different kinds are used in products. Products marked “fragrance-free” or “without perfume” means that no fragrances have been added to make the product smell good.

Preservatives in cosmetics are the second most common cause of skin problems. They prevent bacteria and fungus from growing in the product and protect products from damage caused by air or light. But preservatives can also cause the skin to become irritated and infected. Some examples of preservatives are:

  • paraben
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • formaldehyde

The ingredients below cannot be used, or their use is limited, in cosmetics. They may cause cancer or other serious health problems.

    • bithionol
    • mercury compounds
    • vinyl chloride
    • halogenated salicyanilides
    • zirconium complexes in aerosol sprays
    • chlorofluorocarbon propellants
    • hexachlorophene

Posted On:  July 14, 2015
Posted By:  admin
Posted In:  Cosmetics