CBD Cosmetics: Unregulated, Yes. Risk-Free, No.

It is well known by now that CBD-infused cosmetics represent the lowest level of risk for businesses. Indeed, CVS, Walgreens and Sephora are only a few of the major national retailers that now offer these products for sale. This is partially due to the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many state regulators do not seem to take issue with the sale and marketing of these products but also because the cosmetic industry has been self-regulated for nearly a century.

Unlike foods, dietary supplements and drugs, cosmetics are not subject to pre-market approval. Instead, the FDA relies on consumer complaints to monitor this self-policed industry – for example, recalls of cosmetics are voluntary actions taken by manufacturers or distributors. Nevertheless, some federal laws and regulations apply to cosmetics marketed in interstate commerce. Both the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) mandate that cosmetics be safe and properly labeled.

Generally, the FDA will deem a cosmetic is unsafe or “adulterated” if it contains a harmful ingredient. Through its rulemaking process, the FDA has banned a small list of ingredients or substances from cosmetics. Yet, even ingredients or substances


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