A cosmetic is classically defined as any preparation that is applied to the skin, eyes, mouth, hair or nails for the purpose of cleansing, enhancing appearance, giving a pleasant smell or giving protection. Unlike drugs, which are used to treat or prevent a disease in the body, cosmetics are not thought to change or affect the body's structure or functions. However, the distinction between drugs and cosmetics is sometimes not clear. Regulations for cosmetic products primarily address the safety of products that may be used by large populations of healthy consumers. However, the efficacy and safety of cosmetic products are not reviewed or approved by national authorities before they are sold to the public. The identification and analysis of adverse effects related to cosmetic products is a process that is currently still, to a large extent, industry driven. It is the responsibility of manufacturers to determine that products and ingredients are safe before they are marketed, and then to collect reports of adverse reactions. However, although the manufacturers do their best to monitor the safety profile of their products, we should consider that there is always a potential inherent conflict of interest.
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