Workshop: Skincare Dilemma

The Dilemma of the Skincare World

The cosmetic industry has been struggling to regulate harmful ingredients from the market in the past and even in the modern-day. Skincare items with dangerous ingredients should be identified as drugs due to their excessive amounts of side effects and future problems they have caused consumers to go through. Drugs can be absorbed by the skin, swallowed, injected, and even sprayed to enter the human body. As a comparison skincare products are also absorbed into the skin. According to Joseph C. DiNardo and Craig A. Downs writes more on the statistics that the Centers of Disease Control states, “97% of the people tested have oxybenzone present in their urine.” What seemed like an industry producing harmless products just showed how much of an effect these creams, essence, and makeup products have on our body internally.

In the article, “Dermatological and environmental toxicological impact of the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone/benzophenone-3” from the Wiley Online Library discussed the concern that “personal care products containing oxybenzone must be raised and compared with the potential negative health and environmental effects.” Everyday products that consumers use to protect their skin from the harmful rays of the sun are known as sunscreens that in many cases, in fact, contain harmful ingredients that have been “reported to produce contact and photo contact allergy reactions.” Not only are these products leading to concerning allergic reactions but also have been linked to causing “Hirschsprung’s disease.” The ingredients that are being put into skincare are in fact causing us to face health problems and are still not considered to be associated with drugs which are shocking. 

The FDA seems to get away with not regulating skincare ingredients since they have limited power from the legislation. It has been proven, “thirteen thousand chemicals that are used in cosmetics only 10%” are tested for safety before being placed onto shelves. The FDA clearly does not have strict enough regulations for products that most women and men use on a daily basis. 

The idea that drugs have a specific definition that is not altered is frightening. Technology is advancing every single day and there are new ingredients being used in cosmetics. Consumers tend to lack education when it comes to cosmetics but rely on what influencers and trends communicate to them. Being exposed to these harmful cosmetics can result in allergic reactions, chemical burns, and even unrecoverable side effects that can be detrimental.  The author of this journal Morgan G. Egebers writes how the  FDCA, on the other hand, defines drugs as, “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.” Even though these might be good categories that drugs fall into there should be subcategories. When we think of drugs we think of not only medications but narcotics, certain types of foods, and alcohol. Even though these so-called “drugs” are not used to cure a disease or prevent it they are still considered drugs by the government that in fact have very harsh regulations. When thinking of narcotics I think of injections, snorting, absorption by the skin, and oral usage. Cosmetics that are aborted by the skin and have harmful or even more detrimental ingredients in them still are not considered to be at the same level as drugs and should be. 

Both drug store cosmetic companies such as L’Oreal and other higher-end big names such as NARS have been reported to contain lead in their products which has been vocally expressed to the public for years and is still not resolved. People are still buying these harmful products since they have trust in the FDA that in reality was never there to make an impactful effect on the industry’s regulations. The fact that we know that our most favored cosmetic companies contain harmful ingredients shows a lack of transparency from big-name companies. In the article, “COSMETICS: A Dermatologist Looks to the Future: Promises and Problems,” Albert M. Kilgman explains how people using these cosmetics have a lack of education with “No premarketing proof of efficacy or safety is required.” Manufacturers are also able to make any claims they desire and still be placed on the market. This shows how lousy regulated the cosmetic industry is even in a day and age where everything seems to be doubled-checked and approved. 

People are simple creatures that love to spend money on anything until they experience any negative effects in skincare for example allergic reactions or even health problems in some cases is a beginning for consumers to get concerned. It takes countless products and negative side effects for a consumer to start getting interested in the ingredient list of cosmetics which shows how corrupt the cosmetic industry has been. 

The regulations placed by the United States compared to Europe also differentiate. In the article, “Analytical Challenges and Regulatory Requirements for Nasal Drug Products in Europe and the U.S.,” from the MDPI website, I realized how intricate and precise regulations are placed on the production and testing of nasal sprays and drops. A nasal spray is considered a drug even though it is absorbed by the skin. The skincare industry does not have nearly as much testing and regulations for products that will be released and also for the fact that they are absorbed by the skin. Things that are taken into consideration when producing a nasal spray include, “droplet size distribution (DSD), plume geometry, spray pattern and shot weights of solution nasal sprays.” These small details are all necessary to make sure a product works accurately and has limited faults. On the website Science Direct the article, “COSMETICS: A Dermatologist Looks to the Future: Promises and Problems,” it is stated that there is no “proof of efficacy or safety” in topical products that are said to be antiaging and brightening. This statement alone explains how the cosmetic industry is so large and developed, yet still has no intentions to advance its procedures for safety and order to prevent toxic ingredients that are marketed from getting approved. 


Egeberg, M. G. (2020). Beauty is Pain: An Analytical View of the American Beauty Industry and the Effects of Regulation on Consumers. Redirecting… Retrieved March 5, 2022, from handle=hein.journals%2Fqhlj23&id=325&men_tab=searchresults 

DiNardo, J. C., & Downs, C. A. (2017, October 31). Dermatological and environmental … – wiley online library. Wiley Online Library . Retrieved March 5, 2022, from 

Trows, S., Wuchner, K., Spycher, R., & Steckel, H. (2014, April 11). Analytical challenges and regulatory requirements for nasal drug products in Europe and the U.S. MDPI. Retrieved March 5, 2022, from 

Liu, Y., Krueger, L. D., & Nguyen, H. P. (2020, December 6). Regulation of skin lightening agents in the United States and implications for public health. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology . Retrieved March 5, 2022, from 

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels.
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32 Responses to Workshop: Skincare Dilemma

  1. I like the author’s thesis and the idea that the FDA should be held accountable for the chemicals/ drugs that are found in cosmetics. It is an interesting concept for a definitional argument and one that should be further examined.


    • From a critical standpoint, I believe that the author could have put in more effort to try to convince the reader of their argument. Throughout their argument, they present information to show how drugs are tested and how cosmetics have harmful components, but never any evidence as to how cosmetics ARE drugs or how the harmful components in them effect the internal systems of the body (which is the main point of their argument).


  2. giants19 says:

    I believe that the area where this author did well was that I believe he or she had ideas in their head already as to what they wanted to do with the topic before they even began writing, which is a great way to get a head start. Something that they could have done better is he could make some of the paragraphs shorter and add more.


  3. oatmealvibes says:

    I was impressed with the authors use of comparison with what a drug is and what skin care is. They’re very similar and it’s something I had not considered before this.


    • oatmealvibes says:

      One thing I feel a little bit “ugh” on is when it’s brought up that “Cosmetics that are aborted by the skin and have harmful or even more detrimental ingredients in them still are not considered to be at the same level as drugs and should be.” I’ve seen the effects of drugs on people close to me and I can 100% say I’ve never seen a skin reaction that compared to people who took crack, heroin, and other big-name drugs. I don’t skincare is at the same level as drugs yet but I’m intrigued if they can convince me otherwise.


  4. I like the author’s thesis as I do believe that the ingredients in the skincare industry should be regulated and I believe that the author supports the claims with solid evidence from reputable sources. However, the author mentions a plethora of ingredients, but does not explain why these ingredients are harmful to the individual.


  5. From a critical standpoint, I think that certain paragraphs could be longer and contain more information on the topic that the author is trying to present in them ( specifically, paragraphs 3 and 6 could be further emphasized). Furthermore, I believe that the author could have done more to convince the reader that cosmetics fall into the category of drugs and should be regulated as such. Most of their paragraphs present evidence that show how drugs are tested and how cosmetics are regulated, but never do they present any evidence that cosmetics ARE drugs or how the components they claim are harmful in cosmetics effect the internal systems of the body.


  6. philsfan1133 says:

    I was impressed with how the author makes really good comparisons between how skin care is used and how drugs can be used. It shows that the argument is there and viable that skin care could possibly be regulated by the FDA and be considered “drugs”.


    • philsfan1133 says:

      I think for the critical part, I think some of the paragraphs are too long but separate the ideas. Some material could have been started in a new paragraph.


  7. sinatraman17 says:

    The thesis is well-explored and supported with high-quality and well-analyzed sources. It excels as a definitional argument as it defines the idea of- What is our current status quo of drug-classification, and why is that flawed?


  8. queenrandom04 says:

    I enjoyed how they made the comparison between European skin care regulation versus American skin care regulation. I think it would be more beneficial for them to narrow down or define what aspects of skincare they want to be regulated. Is it makeup? Is it scrubs? Is it face soap? Serums? I don’t know.


  9. I think the author has a really thought out thesis and a lot of good points to back up this thesis. I also agree that the FDA has gone way too long getting away with using drugs and chemicals like that in cosmetics, especially when there’s a lot of proof of them doing it, and they still get away with it.


  10. fulcrum66 says:

    Paragraph 3 explains how the FDA lacks regulations over how the products are tested before being put on the shelves. If only 10 % of chemicals are tested, why are the rest not tested? The FDA clearer must see the wrong in this and pick up their regulations on these products that are used daily.


  11. saycheese03 says:

    In paragraph 3 the Author uses a quote that contains a percentage and a certain number of chemicals making this a numerical argument. By using numbers and facts the author is trying to prove to the reader that the FDA does not care about the drugs that are in skin products. This argument is very interesting because it makes us redefine what A drug really is and what effects make something. considered a drug.


  12. gracchusbabeuf says:

    I would commend the author for their convincing use of research on the health effects of cosmetics. The credibility established through thoughtful citation and reflection on these shocking materials lays a convincing foundation for the argument.


    • gracchusbabeuf says:

      With that being said, the author’s writing will benefit from significant revisions. To be frank, the author weakens their own position with poorly phrased sentences and necessary references to themself in the first person. I’d like to take a look at one paragraph in particular.

      “People are simple creatures that love to spend money on anything until they experience any negative effects in skincare for example allergic reactions or even health problems in some cases is a beginning for consumers to get concerned. It takes countless products and negative side effects for a consumer to start getting interested in the ingredient list of cosmetics which shows how corrupt the cosmetic industry has been.”

      The first sentence is a dreadful run-on with a great core idea. It should be split into two sentences or, perhaps, rewritten as a very complex compound sentence. People are simple creatures that love to spend money, is a weak claim that isn’t really relevant to the argument. I think its not an unfair claim, but why get bogged down? Focus on people as the “consumers” of cosmetics they do not know are dangerous. I also HATE the second sentence in this paragraph. So so so so so wordy. Instead, try something like “The corruption in the cosmetic industry is often entirely unknown to the public: only after the discovery of extensive negative side-effects do consumers even learn about the dangers of their cosmetics.” Im not even certain that the use of dangerous substances in cosmetics is an example of corruption, to be honest. Corruption implies the deviation or perversion of something from its original purpose. A cosmetics corporation’s only purpose is to make profits: the public health is of no concern to it. So I’m unsure that a cosmetics company endangering their customers is actually corruption.


  13. pinkmonkey32 says:

    I enjoyed reading about this, one strength in this essay is how well her quotes fit her argument and don’t feel like they are just put there, they flow.
    One thing to work on in this essay would be to eliminate the bias in the argument at some points it felt as if she was stating her opinion and not fact.


  14. rowanluver29 says:

    I like the authors use of sources, I think all of them make really strong points, and they were executed nicely. The piece was also straight forward and gave the readers the information they wanted without any fluff. This helped me stay focused on the purpose of the article rather than lose interest and stop reading.


  15. tristanb50 says:

    I found this essay to be very compelling to read, because most of the sentences felt very compact without any excess gabbing. I think the thesis could be shrunken down a bit, maybe get rid of the “which are shocking” bit. Also I was confused what journal was being quoted in the 4th paragraph.


  16. clevelandbrown03 says:

    I like the author’s points and argument. They use a good job of having their sources support their claim.


  17. Water says:

    The author did a good job explaining the push and pull aspect of the skincare world and how people are eager to buy products but with little to no information about whether the product contains a “drug”. However, they should have the facts used in the claim to follow through with the main claim that the FDA should establish what drugs are good or bad in these products.


  18. pinkheart84 says:

    This essay was definitely very mesmerizing to read because the sentences were actually though out and interesting and there are no filler words and unnecessary sentences. I also think that the quotes really tie into the argument and is a great way to show someone else’s opinion who agrees. A critique I would make for this essay would be to maybe shorten the paragraphs and make them into two separate ones instead of one long one.


  19. tmjj4345 says:

    As someone who is passionate about my skincare routine, I value the quality and ingredients of the products I put on my face. I personally, found this article very compelling and liked how the author included how willing consumers are to buy products without full knowledge of what’s in the product. It’s important to know which “drugs,” good or bad, that are in each product. I found the author’s research in cosmetology and FDA drugs helpful and the credibility contributed to the audience’s understanding of the author’s purpose.
    I applaud the author for their comparison of skin care and drugs, but believe that they could have been more persuasive and put more effort into convincing the audience of their argument.


  20. Shazammm says:

    “The cosmetic industry has been struggling to regulate harmful ingredients from the market in the past and even in the modern-day. Skincare items with dangerous ingredients should be identified as drugs due to their excessive amounts of side effects and future problems they have caused consumers to go through.” I applaud the author diving into their thesis/topic straight away. Personally, it is not easy opening up an essay so effectively.


    • Shazammm says:

      However this line, “People are simple creatures that love to spend money on anything…” may be stepping over the line a bit. It is not really a proven fact that people love to spend money on anything. I would not have included that.


  21. g00dsoup says:

    This was a very intriguing read and it really opened my eyes to actually be wary of what skincare products I use and what is going into my skin. I really liked how her sources fit in her essay. My few “concerns” with this piece…I feel there is a slight tense of the writer being a bit biased and there were a few instances where I felt her projecting her opinion. I also feel some of the paragraphs could have been separated into two instead of a long one.


  22. sunflower0311 says:

    I found the topic of this essay to be very interesting and something that is not thought of often. Prior to reading this I really never thought about what actually is inside the products I use. It had never occurred to me that the things I was using could actually be harmful. The writer choosing to write about such an interesting topic made me want to continue reading their essay.


    • sunflower0311 says:

      However, while the topic itself was very interesting I feel like there was a lot of stuff talked about in this essay that where not explained. For example, when they talk about oxybenzone it made me wonder what that was and why it was harmful however instead of explaining that the author just wrapped up the paragraph. Another example was when they mentioned Hirschsprung’s disease but did not tell us what that was. It made me not want to read much more of the essay because at this point, I was confused. I feel that the author just assumed that the audience knew things about this topic and did not bother to explain much.


  23. chickennugget246 says:

    I found this argument to be very interesting, and I like how the author got straight to the point on what they were going to be unfolding within their argument, so we did not have to wonder throughout our read. Also, the author providing evidence backing up their claim gave us a better understanding on how and why skincare products are harmful. However, I feel that the author could have explained some of their points more clearly. For example, the author should have told us what Hirschsprung’s Disease was and should have told us exactly what cosmetics are harmful, causing allergic reactions, chemical burns, and unrecoverable side effects that can be detrimental. Also, what are these unrecoverable detrimental side effects? The author could have been more specific on explaining certain points that they made within their argument.


  24. inspireangels says:

    The author makes it clear to the audience what they are arguing about which is good. The second paragraph leads us in by telling us that oxybenzone is harmful to the individual and associated with negative health effects by letting the audience know the potential risks it has on your skin. This contributes to her claim. I like the comparison they make between alcohol and narcotic usage to make up usage which is fairly similar. This topic was very intriguing and I enjoy reading it.

    However in their first paragraph when mentioning the word oxybenzone to their audience some individuals may not know what it is, or what effect it has on make-up users and have to go out of their way to search for what is it. A good idea would have been to give more examples of makeup products that are harmful to the individual to add to her overall essay.


  25. gobirds115 says:

    I like the points the author made and I also like the emphasis that they put into each sentence as they used all of their words wisely and it seems that there is very little going on and on about useless information in this essay.


    • gobirds115 says:

      In paragraph six, the author kind of puts the reader in a position of defense after the author critiques human beings and their actions/traits. This may cause the reader to not get past that part of the paragraph and cause them to not care for what the rest of the paragraph has to say.


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