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Medical News & Perspectives
May 27, 1998

"Treatment" Cosmetics: Hype or Help?

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JAMA. 1998;279(20):1595-1596. doi:10.1001/jama.279.20.1595

COSMETICS alleged to achieve druglike effects, such as the repair of sun damage and reversal of aging, add a new wrinkle to skin care, according to presentations at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in Orlando, Fla, in March, and interviews with government and industry experts. Debate continues on how well these products work, whether substances that behave like drugs should be marketed as cosmetics, and whether they are safe for long-term use.

These new cosmetics have been dubbed "cosmeceuticals," a term the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize, John Bailey, PhD, director of the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors, said in an interview. Cosmetics are defined by law as products not intended to affect the body's structure or functions, and drugs are defined as products that do so.

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