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  • Writer's pictureCentral Solutions

Cosmetics vs Drugs: How to Tell the Difference

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Photo used with permission by Moose Photos via Pexels

Central Solutions, Inc. is an FDA and EPA registered facility. This is something we take a great deal of pride in, but what does that actually mean? And why is it important for our facility, our products, and our customers?

When you think about products that touch your skin or hair, typically these products fall into one of two categories. They are either a drug or a cosmetic. The primary difference between these two categories is that drugs can make claims about their product’s medical purposes, such as treatment or prevention of a disease, where cosmetics cannot.

Keep in mind, anytime a product makes a claim about treating a disease, say for instance acne or xerosis, that claim makes the product a “drug” as defined by the Food Drug and Cosmetics Act, and all drugs must comply with FDA regulations surrounding their drug category. An easy way to know if a product is a drug and compliant with FDA regulations is by looking at the back of the product. Does the product label contain a “drug box”? The “drug box” identifies the active ingredients, the purpose of the active ingredients, ways that ingredients can be used, any warnings, and directions for use. If not, then you’re using a cosmetic product that should not be making any medical claims.

So what kind of claims can cosmetics make? Any product that is meant to beautify, cleanse, or alter your appearance, like makeup, is a cosmetic. These products are made to change your appearance but not heal or treat diseases. Some examples of the types of claims you might see on a cosmetic would be “improves appearance of skin,” “enhances shine or color on your hair,” or “cleanses skin of impurities.” But if you see anything about treating diseases like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff, etc. be sure to look for active ingredients.

For more information please visit the FDA's website.

If you are interested in learning more about our products and their classification as either a drug or a cosmetic please e-mail us at

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