FDA To Lancome: If Your Creams Stimulate Stem Cells Or Whatever, They're Actually Drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates both cosmetics and drugs, but they’re not the same thing. The distinction is that drugs affect the structure of your body or the way it works, and cosmetics just make you look nicer. It’s the difference between a tube of mascara and a prescription of Latisse. Try telling that to Lancôme, though. The FDA happened to stop by the company’s website one day, and noticed that the company makes some claims that make their products sound less like cosmetics, and more like drugs.

What do these amazing substances do? The FDA cites one product’s marketing material, which claims to “[boost] the activity of genes and stimulates the production of youth proteins.” Uh huh. Another product supposedly “has been shown to improve the condition around the stem cells and stimulate cell regeneration to reconstruct skin to a denser quality.” That sounds impressive. The site also boasts that one eye cream “helps to re-bundle collagen.” Wow, and I can buy this stuff at Macy’s?

Not so fast, says the FDA, noting in their letter:

The claims on your web site indicate that these products are intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body, rendering them drugs under the Act. The marketing of these products with these claims evidencing these intended uses violates the Act.

WARNING LETTER [FDA] (Thanks, Kelly!)