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Why Regulatory Experts Hold the Line on Product Safety

Why Regulatory Experts Hold the Line on Product Safety

Regulatory bodies around the globe are going through a revolution, enacting restrictions or outright banning certain chemical ingredients. Find out who is looking out for you—and the larger beauty community.

In this on-going business series, we decode different professions within the beauty industry, sharing groundbreaking insight from experts on Codex Beauty’s Advisory Panel. Come learn and be inspired!  


The Science Behind: Regulatory Affairs

Insight From: Kari Skulason, Quality and Regulatory Affairs Consultant, and Steven Trzaska, Business Advisor


When it comes to beauty and personal care products, a company’s regulatory affairs experts are the unsung heroes of product safety.  They are tasked with myriad duties, but the most important involve overseeing how cosmetics are developed, tested, manufactured, marketed and distributed to ensure they comply with ever-changing standards around the world. This is no small feat.  


Today, regulatory bodies around the globe are going through a revolution, putting certain restrictions on, or outright banning, chemical ingredients like formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, parabens and many others once considered safe. Regulatory experts work closely with formulators to relay this breaking regulatory news so that they understand the parameters under which they may develop a new formula.


All this expertise requires specialized training. Regulatory professionals typically hold advanced degrees and have worked in multiple fields, such as science, pharmacy, engineering, marketing and business. In addition to being intimately familiar with hundreds of global rules and regulations, regulatory specialists keep formulators in the loop regarding whether a product is a cosmetic or a drug. For example, in some countries like the US and Japan, products such as sunscreens and antiperspirants are considered quasi-drugs. In the Europe Union, anti-aging products straddle the line between cosmetics and drugs. These nuances often mean companies must make several iterations of the same product for global sale.


Not only do federal and country specific laws need to be followed, but state laws as well. For example, California has one of the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to the safety of products sold within its borders. Known as Prop 65, the Safe Cosmetics Act, it represents a very detailed list of stipulations governing the sale of cosmetics. Regulatory experts work side-by-side with cosmetic chemists and formulators to help them develop innovative products that provide a "wow-factor" in the marketplace, but also stay within the confines of the laws.


As the old saying goes, "it takes a village" and regulatory affairs professionals most definitely have an important seat on the village counsel.



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