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FDA warning for over the counter acne treatments

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 30-Jun-2014
Last updated the 30-Jun-2014 at 15:47 GMT

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against over the counter acne treatments, noting that severe allergic reactions can result from the usage of certain acne products, and these reactions have the potential to be lethal.

The FDA’s warning comes as a caution for cosmetics consumers, highlighting the potential dangers of certain products used to treat acne which contain the active ingredients benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.

Between 1969 and the start of 2013, 131 reports from both consumers and manufacturers of allergic and hypersensitivity-related adverse reactions associated with these products were received by the FDA, and the regulatory body notes that about 42% of these reactions occurred within minutes to 24 hours of use.

Consumer warning

Brands which manufacture such products - which are available as gels, lotions, face washes, solutions, cleansing pads, toners and face scrubs - include Proactiv, Neutrogena, MaxClarity, Oxy, Ambi, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear, according to the FDA.

The FDA’s new warning, published on the regulatory body’s site, comes with the aim of educating consumers of the risks that some of these products can pose.

There is currently no mention of the possibility of these very severe allergic reactions on the product labels,” says Mona Khurana, M.D., a medical officer at FDA, explaining the motivation behind the body’s new consumer warning.

It’s important that consumers know about them, and that they know what to do if they occur,” she confirms.

The agency is now encouraging manufacturers to use the drug label to advise consumers how to test the product’s safety before using it for the first time.

Acne on the rise

A rise in adult consumers suffering from acne is being seen across the US, with the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology noting that 54% of women over 25 now have at least ‘some facial acne’.

This rise in the number of consumers with acne highlights the importance of the safety of anti-acne treatments.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner of the ADD notes that adult acne treatment can also alleviate other cosmetics concerns for women, an opportunity the industry can benefit from in light of on-going consumer enthusiasm for multifunctional products.

Today, women with acne have a number of good treatment options, and it’s an added bonus that treatment can be tailored to address both acne and aging skin,” he says.

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