Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Truth about Personal Care Labels by Dr. Desai,


The Truth about Personal Care Labels by Dr. Desai,

Ever wonder what words like “green”, “natural” or “eco-friendly” mean?  Let me start by stating some facts about personal care products

·         The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetic labeling under the authority of both the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA)

·         Labeling: This term refers to all labels and other written, printed, or graphic matter on or accompanying a product (1)

·         Principal Display Panel (PDP): This is the part of the label most likely displayed or examined under customary conditions of display for sale [21 CFR 701.10].

·         Information Panel: Generally, this term refers to a panel other than the PDP that can accommodate label information where the consumer is likely to see it. The information on this panel must be prominent and conspicuous (1)

·         The FDA doesn’t regulate the term “organic” as applied to personal care products (2) 

·         If a personal care product contains agricultural ingredients, then the manufacturer can seek USDA organic certification

·         In the US, federal legislation defines 3 levels of Organic products : 1)products made entirely with organic ingredients and methods may be labeled “100 % organic”, 2) products with at least 95% organic ingredients may be labeled “organic” and 3) products with at least 70% organic ingredients may be labeled, “made with organic ingredients (3)

·         The word “natural” has no regulatory meaning, except when used in the context of poultry or meat.  Natural meat and poultry cannot contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or sweeteners and typically have minimal processing.  A label of natural on meat products must specify how the product qualifies as natural.  Many products listed as “natural” have several non-natural processes.

·         The words “eco-friendly” or “green” have no regulatory meaning.  Many products listed as “eco-friendly” or “green” may contain preservatives such as parabens or formaldehyde releaser DMDM Hydantoin.

·         Ingredients less than 0.1% of formulation do not have to be disclosed on product labels (4).

What does this all mean to you as a consumer? You should never let a product name or brand be the driving force in your decision to purchase. Product label reading and understanding is essential for the educated consumer. If you choose organic or natural let it be just that. Dr. Desai can help! Let Dr. Desai answer your questions at about personal care product labels and ingredients.


1. [FD&C Act, sec. 201(m); 21 U.S.C. 321(m)].


3. "Labeling organic products". U.S. Department of Agriculture. October 2012.  

4. www.SafeCosmetics.Org


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