There has been an increase in complaints regarding hair and skin care products in recent years, new research states.
For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration publicly released a report in December compiled by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition on the negative effects of food and cosmetics since 2004. The report named hair care products, skin care products and tattoos as the most common source of adverse reactions, NPR reports.
Steve Xu, a resident dermatologist at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, and colleagues published a study on the problems with personal care products using the said report.
The cosmetics industry is mostly self-regulated, with no strict requirements for approval before getting to consumers. Once the products are out on the market, there are even fewer systems to monitor safety.
You can start making a cosmetic and start selling it the next day without any kind of permission from the FDA.
If a product results is an “adverse event,” meaning reactions like rashes, nausea, stress, or the like, consumers can report the product to the FDA. However, there is no guarantee that the incident will be investigated.
The most common complaints regarding skin and hair care products were hair loss or hair breakage, and skin irritation, Xu said. Personal hygiene products, baby products, coloring and hair care items ranked as having the highest proportion of serious adverse events. These included injuries, hospitalization, and even death.
The number of reported adverse events increased by over two times from 2015 to 2016, driven mostly by complaints regarding WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioners, Xu said. Due to the many complaints, the FDA announced an investigation into WEN products.
The FDA had received only 127 complaints, but the manufacturer recorded over 21,000. But manufacturers have no legal obligation to submit these complaints to the FDA, which prompted the agency to ask customers to report on their experiences directly to them.
Former FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf and colleagues published an editorial stating that there is a need for a better pre-market and post-market system for assessment and monitoring. The “chronically underfunded” FDA needs more support, among other changes that would help “achieve the high levels of safety people in the United States have a right to expect.”
The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.