Wednesday, February 16, 2011The language of labels

The mention: Moisturization of the upper layers of the epidermis

©L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

It is still often systematically written, after the asterisk, as soon as “hydration” is claimed as a benefit of the product. However, what does this mention mean, in fact? Why is it written on some moisturizing products, and not on others? Well… this mentionas a story by itself, and a specific statute.

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The answers to these questions cannot be found in the Cosmetics Regulation. This document sticks with the definition of a cosmetic product, “A cosmetic product is any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, and/or correcting body odours, and/or protecting them or keeping them in good condition.”

“Intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body” does not give any clue to the future of the product after its application; there is nothing in the Regulation that prevents it to go deeper in the skin… Further, in these more than 150-page text, moisturizing is unheard of…

The inception of this mention dates back to an old opinion by then BVP (the French acronym for the Advertising Verification Office), now ARPP (Advertising Professional Regulatory Authority), issued in October 1998. In its Recommendations Hygiene and Beauty, the word moisturizing is defined as follows:
1/ Moisturizing cosmetic products are products that improve or maintain the epidermis water balance
2/ Products …

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