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The pharmacy in any corner drug store brims with carefully formulated, tested, and regulated drugs.

But aisles packed with personal care products—shampoos, makeup, lotions—are a different story.
For the most part, these products aren’t regulated at all.

The gels, creams, and concoctions we slather on our skin and massage into our heads on a daily basis clear no regulatory hurdles before strolling into neighborhood stores and medicine cabinets.

The Food and Drug Administration only looks into these products when people voluntarily report problems.

And people hardly ever report problems to the FDA—even when there are big ones.
In a research letter this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, a trio of researchers argue that something has got to change.
A major motivation for their argument is the recent scandal involving WEN by Chaz Dean hair care products. (You’ve likely seen the celebrity-studded infomercials.) The FDA opened an investigation into WEN in 2014 after the agency received complaints that the brand’s Cleansing Conditioners were irritating scalps and causing hair to fall out.

A whopping 127 complaints rolled in—that’s a lot for the FDA.
In 2007, for instance, the agency received fewer than 200 complaints total, for all personal care products sold in the country.
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