Do natural makeup and skin care products work?
We've all seen "grass-fed" this and "organic" that when we go food shopping at the supermarket. But is it important to care about the ingredients in your beauty and cosmetic products?
If this sounds complicated, you're not alone. While there's still debate on this topic, we've tried to answer some common questions below.
1. IT'S NOT LIKE YOU'RE DIGESTING THESE PRODUCTS AS YOU DO WITH FOOD. WHY DO THE INGREDIENTS IN COSMETIC PRODUCTS MATTER?
That's true, but what you put on your skin also gets into your system through a process called "dermal absorption," according to dermatologist Dr. Cybele Fishman.
"Your skin is your largest organ," she said. "You have to care about what you put on it."
2. OK, THAT MAKES SENSE. BUT DOESN'T THE GOVERNMENT REGULATE THIS?
Well, sort of.
"We can only take action within our legal authority, our limited information and our limited resources," Lauren Sucher, a press officer for the FDA, told TODAY in a statement.
She further explained that the FDA does not have the authority to approve products before they hit store shelves, nor can they recall a problem product. "We can ask a company to recall a problem product, and we’ll work with them to make sure the recall is effective," she wrote.
On behalf of the federal agency, Sucher also said that "in general, cosmetic manufacturers may use any ingredient they choose, except for a few ingredients that are prohibited by regulation."
This doesn't mean our products are dangerous, but it does put a lot of responsibility on the consumer to understand what they are purchasing.
As a start, a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress in 2017 hopes to strengthen the FDA's authority and update the regulations so that the agency would have to evaluate a minimum of five ingredients per year.
Jake Heller / TODAY