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As United States citizens, we are considered innocent until proven guilty. This is a comfort we are guaranteed, and as a country we value our rights. Is this right something that should be given across the board—not just for citizens, but for industries as well? When it comes to consumer goods and ingredients, should suppliers enjoy the same luxury? Currently, suppliers and manufacturers of cosmetic ingredients in the U.S. do; this is in contrast with other countries that have more stringent premarket regulations. Since these manufacturers of ingredients and products do not have to prove their safety, the burden falls on consumers to determine toxic from safe, right from wrong, good from bad. Without sufficient information and education, we have to be our own advocates for our health and well-being.
People’s obsessions can be anything from shoes to cars. Most of us have something we collect, treasure, research, admire or lust after. My obsession is with skin and finding ingredients in nature that enhance, repair, heal and protect it. I get giddy over things we have in our cupboards that can transform skin. I love to find the latest “skin miracle” at my local grocery store.
With all the recent press on both the health and safety of our personal care products as well as the limited FDA regulations on labeling them, the average consumer is both disillusioned and concerned. This consumer is however helping to create the necessary change needed for the cosmetic industry.
Cosmetic sales are projected to reach 9.9 billion dollars in the US by 2016. And the largest contributor to this growth will come from products touting “natural” and “organic”. This section in particular has boomed in the past ten years. Small companies “known” for producing all natural products are quickly being gobbled up by large firms, from Shiseido’s acquisition of Bare Essentials to Clarins’ acquisition of the French organic brand Kibio.
The world is hard enough to migrate without adding, “what’s in your personal care products” to the list of concerns. We teach our children to trust their teachers, doctors while shying away from people they do not know. It is a complicated message to have both trust and skepticism and know where and when to draw the line.