Thoughts From a Specialty Skin Care Artisan

I’m sitting here deep in thought, looking out at the slowly drifting snowflakes settle to the ground outside my window. This tradition tends to repeat itself every New Year as I ponder the previous one, thinking of ways that I can improve what I do in the coming months.  While pondering these thoughts, I also can’t help but think of the things that make me feel a bit crazy and defeated as a small business owner year after year.

In this blog, I share some of these thoughts to not simply get it off my chest, but to assist you in caring for your own health and well-being. 

Coming in at number one:

Dishonest and misleading advertising claims made from small and large cosmetic and personal care companies

(This includes small soap businesses, lotion businesses, essential oil businesses as well as the big name cosmetic companies). 

This one is very tough for me to handle.  I, along with many of my fellow formulators work very hard to follow the rules and guidelines set down by the FDA which is the regulatory agency for what we do. But many, many businesses do not follow these laws and instead flagrantly make ridiculous and potentially dangerous medical claims regarding their products in their zeal to sell you something.

It is said that knowledge is power, so in support of greater empowerment here you go!

It is against the law for anyone who is not a registered drug company recognized by the FDA to make any claims of actual changes to the skin from using one of their products.  If they tell you their product, natural or otherwise will:

-cure arthritis,

-cure psoriasis,

-cure eczema,

-remove wrinkles, lines, etc.

-heal burns, wounds, or anything at all,

they are effectively breaking the laws established by the FDA and to which we all are required to follow, and they have absolutely no legal basis for their claims.  This is where the term “Snake Oil Salesman” comes from. 

Am I saying that carefully selected and natural ingredients can’t do wonderful things for your skin?  No, of course not!  If that were the case, I wouldn’t waste my time or yours doing what I’m doing.  Wholesome, natural and high quality ingredients are gorgeous, can help make you look and feel fabulous and are what I use in all of my products.  I am letting you know, dear reader, that healing claims for products intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease are not allowed by the FDA unless they are made by a registered drug company who has submitted and received verification and approval for all of the ingredients for which they are making claims, and said verification has been obtained from the FDA.  Not Aunt Sarah, not from the neighbor next door, and certainly not from the person trying to sell you something at your local farmers market or from a rep from some online cosmetic/skincare company.

If you have a real medical condition like psoriasis, eczema, etc.…, please follow your doctor’s advice!  Don’t be taken up by the claims of a snake oil salesperson.  They are not qualified to help you with your condition, and you could end up in a much worse state than you were to start.  Also be very wary when it comes to sunscreens, and especially “natural” sunscreens sold at your local farmers market.  Any SPF claim made by the salesperson or that appears on the bottle must be verified by the FDA for that specific product, so don’t be afraid to ask for the FDA certification that proves it is what it states on the package. Improperly formulated sunscreen can result in actual  "holes" in the protection allowing burning sun rays to penetrate regardless of the quality or type of sunscreen ingredients used.

And in the end, remember all of us good guys, those who play by the rules and do our best to make the finest and safest products available to you and who are honest with you.  We may not toot our horns as loudly as the snake oil people, but I would put my products up against theirs any day of the week! :)

You can see several recent warning letters sent by the FDA to companies who have not complied with the laws here:

Bottom line?  Buying snake oil to cure or treat a skin condition does you no good and can cause you harm, encourages those who make it to keep making it, fools others into buying it, and takes business away from those who work hard to deserve your business. 

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