Proud to be Part of a Movement

Louanne Roark
Executive Director, Look Good Feel Better

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While it has become a familiar part of our lives, it wasn’t always that way. Launched in 1985, the annual campaign set out to promote awareness and support for women with breast cancer while championing access to prevention strategies, including mammography, at a time when people simply didn’t talk about breast cancer. Thirty-four years later, you would be hard-pressed to find an adult woman who had not been exposed to – and thus benefited from – this important effort.

I am proud to say that the cosmetics and personal care industry was a leader in the breast cancer awareness movement almost from the beginning. Thirty years ago, the industry launched a ground-breaking program, Look Good Feel Better. It was the first organized, charitable program to assist female cancer patients – free of charge – with appearance side effects from cancer treatment. From our start in 1989, we quickly learned that in addition to improving appearance and body image, Look Good Feel Better also improved morale, confidence, hope, and provided a vision of the light at the end of the treatment tunnel.

Today, we take for granted that companies engage in Corporate Social Responsibility. But 30 years ago, it was just taking root as a concept. Little did we know at the time that we were at the forefront of this sweeping change in corporate and consumer mindset, and that we were starting something very special. Dare I say, we were starting a movement?

Look Good Feel Better has proven to be a bold demonstration of the good that can happen when industry unites behind a larger purpose. The personal care industry and beauty professionals across the country generously donate millions of dollars’ worth of beauty products and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to women undergoing cancer treatment, restoring confidence and boosting self-esteem. It has come to represent our industry at its best and exemplifies what our products can do to support wellbeing.

Since those early days, more than 2 million people in 27 countries around the world have experienced the personal and transformative power of our industry’s products to reignite their self-confidence in the midst of their most challenging moments.

And it works. We know from research that the program helps women face cancer with confidence – 96% say the program improved their self-image and 98% would recommend it to other women with cancer.

We have been building this movement for 30 years but, in some ways, we are just getting started.

Today, we are stretching to reach a bold and ambitious future. Look Good Feel Better now offers free support for cancer patients through live, hospital-based group workshops; new virtual livestreaming programs; through community partnerships such as our collaboration with Walgreens; and by offering robust online education and support. We are delivering the Look Good Feel Better message and expertise when and where the information is needed, thereby reaching and serving more women in need.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to rededicate our efforts toward prevention, education, patient and survivor support and, ultimately, finding a cure for this cruel disease that strikes 1 in 8 women in their lifetime. In fact, more than half (60%) of the women Look Good Feel Better serves are breast cancer patients and nearly a third of new cancer diagnoses among women in 2019 are expected to be breast cancer diagnoses. We are helping women at a critical time, in a real and tangible way, to find their way through and beyond breast cancer.

I am proud of what we have accomplished in the past 30 years, and honored to have been a part of it. And I am energized knowing that Look Good Feel Better is well-positioned to be a powerful resource for the next 30 years.

So, before October comes to an end, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come – and together, commit ourselves to the future of Look Good Feel Better and the people we serve.

Sound Science Must Guide Public Policy

Jay M. Ansell, PhD, DABT
VP, Cosmetics Program
Personal Care Products Council

As a scientist, I make up my mind based on the evidence. I may believe something is true, but then I have to put that belief to the test. Sometimes the evidence will show I was right. Other times, no matter how compelling or convenient my belief may be, if the evidence does not agree, then I have to change my mind. At the end of the day, the best decision-making is informed by facts, not opinions, beliefs or speculation.

The need for science to guide policy discussions is critical, and in the case of efforts to ban the sale and use of some sunscreens as a way to prevent damage to coral reefs, we have a good example of why science should inform public policy. Policymakers in Hawaii and Florida have recently passed legislation based on the speculation certain sunscreen ingredients harm coral reefs, while ignoring the proven benefits of sunscreens, potentially endangering the health of people visiting their beaches and living in their communities.

We know the greatest risk to coral reefs, and it is not people wearing sunscreen at the beach. The clear scientific consensus is that the chief cause of coral reef decline is increasing ocean temperatures due to climate change, in combination with overfishing and water pollution from wastewater treatment plants, agricultural runoff, industrial discharges and other sources. By supporting misguided bans on the sale and use of these sunscreens, policymakers are diverting people from finding real solutions while jeopardizing public health.

Medical, scientific and public health experts all agree using sunscreen is a critical part of an overall sun safety regimen. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a known cause of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than five million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year—more than all other cancers combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and one person dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every hour, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

So, if we care about protecting public health and the coral reefs, there are steps we can take right now to make a difference.
Here’s what the personal care products industry is doing to address climate change, the chief cause of coral reef decline:

  • Reducing Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions – More than two thirds of Personal Care Products Council member companies are actively managing energy use and carbon emission from their operations. Many companies support the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
  • Water Conservation and Management – Many companies have set ambitious public targets to reduce water consumption, increase water reuse and improve overall water efficiency in operations.
  • Zero Waste – Several companies are leading the way when it comes to achieving the goal of creating zero waste in their production and supply chain – from product design, manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain decisions to waste management and recycling considerations.

Every consumer can play a role to play too — small scale changes can make a big difference. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, here’s what you can do every day:

  • Take care of your trash. If you take it to the beach, be sure to take it home – especially plastic. And don’t forget the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle).
  • Minimize use of fertilizers. Nutrients in fertilizers (nitrogen and phosphorus) can runoff and get into waterways and eventually end up in oceans, where they degrade water quality.
  • Reduce stormwater runoff. Homeowners can install water catchments or rain gardens and use rain barrels to collect rainwater that would otherwise be diverted to storm drains, which eventually flow from our waterways into the ocean.
  • Use environmentally-friendly modes of transportation. Using cleaner transportation methods can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to ocean acidification and increased ocean temperature.

We all share the goal of protecting the Earth’s treasures, including the coral reefs, while addressing climate change and water quality issues. Let’s focus on solutions that target the real problems and not let ourselves be distracted by proposals that do nothing to help—and in fact could cause real harm.

Don’t Get Burned by Misleading Sunscreen Claims

Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications
Personal Care Products Council

As a communicator, being informed is a top priority – in all aspects of my life. When considering a new product to purchase, for instance, I look to science and research to provide objective information and help me make a data-driven choice… and I’m not alone. According to a recent poll by NORC, public confidence in the scientific community has remained largely stable since the 1970s, which is why I find it so confusing that the credibility and reliability of science is suddenly up for debate.

I am not a scientist, but I’ve worked with many over the years and am consistently impressed by the rigor of their approach and work. Rather than relying on gut instinct or emotions like many of us do, scientists carefully examine and consider established data to guide their work and recommendations. They go where the facts lead them, even if the facts disrupt their journey. (The scientific method provides an organized way in to answer a question, test a hypothesis, or solve a problem.)

We could all use a little more objectivity – a little less assumption – in our lives. What is most concerning recently is the willful disregard for (and, in some cases, blatant misrepresentation of) science when it comes to the safety and benefits of sunscreens.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than five million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year—more than all other types of cancer combined. One in five will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and one person dies from melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – every hour, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Medical and scientific experts around the world agree sunscreen is a critical part of an overall sun safety regimen, but you wouldn’t know it by consuming today’s news.

You may, instead, be led to believe that sunscreen is harmful to your health or to the environment, or worse yet, that using it should be a last resort. These reports irresponsibly misrepresent the well-established scientific evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of sunscreen. What’s even more alarming? Some of these statements misrepresent the position of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates sunscreens and has the authority to remove them from the market, were they to have any safety concerns.

When false and misleading statements are picked up by the media, it risks confusing – even potentially harming – consumers. Put another way, while unsubstantiated claims might make for catchy headlines, they can undermine confidence in the products that protect us.

Fact: Sunscreens on the market today are backed by decades of safe use to help adults and children guard against the dangers of sun exposure. The FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Surgeon General, AAD, Skin Cancer Foundation, and health professionals worldwide consistently advocate for the use of broad-spectrum sunscreens as part of a safe-sun regimen. These products play a critical role in the fight against skin cancer and premature skin aging.

With summer in full swing, as my loved ones and I begin to spend more time outdoors, we won’t be ignoring decades of science and research in favor of sensationalized news stories. I will grab my hat, long sleeve shirt, and favorite bottle of sunscreen… confident I am following the best scientific and medical advice available to protect us from the harmful effects of the sun.


MYTH: European Cosmetics are Safer than those Manufactured in the U.S.

Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications
Personal Care Products Council

In today’s media environment, where repeated misinformation and myths can start to become ‘reality,’ it’s important to step back and more deeply examine the facts. One example is the oft-cited myth that cosmetics and personal care products are more strictly regulated in the European Union (EU) than in the United States. In fact, however, the approach to regulating cosmetics in the EU and U.S. is fundamentally the same.

Cosmetics are widely considered to be very low-risk to consumers; consequently, neither the EU nor the U.S. require regulatory approval prior to marketing. Instead, both jurisdictions require manufacturers to substantiate the safety of their products and ingredients before offering them to consumers. Both systems also authorize regulatory bodies to ban or restrict the use of certain ingredients and to require warnings and instructions for use on product labels. Independent expert scientific bodies have been established in both the EU (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety [SCCS]) and U.S. (Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel [CIR]) to review test data and provide opinions on the safety of cosmetics ingredients. Both jurisdictions also require substantiation of product claims.

One of the most commonly cited myths is that European products are safer because the EU has banned over 1,400 ingredients, while the U.S. has banned less than 20.  Close examination of the EU Annex II banned list, however, reveals the vast majority of those chemicals are not, have not, and never would have been, used in cosmetics in either the U.S. or in Europe. The EU banned list includes substances such as jet aircraft fuel, pesticides, barbiturate drugs, the cancer drug Methotrexate, antibiotics, arsenic, strychnine, cyanide, rat poison, and carbon monoxide. Clearly, these are not ingredients that would ever be used in a cosmetic.

All cosmetic ingredients undergo strict scientific safety assessments using internationally recognized methodologies, whether these ingredients are used in cosmetics sold in the U.S. or the EU. Consumers can be confident of the high levels of product safety and quality on both sides of the Atlantic.

For more information, please visit, where you can find science-based safety information about the ingredients used globally in cosmetics and personal care products.

What Will You Pledge This Earth Day?

Pamela Alabaster
Contributing Writer

Earth Day provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the majesty and splendor of nature. Whether experiencing the arrival of spring and its inherent rebirth or patiently awaiting the winter thaw, this is a season for hope and optimism.

Earth Day calls on us to recognize how much we depend on the Earth’s natural capital and eco-system services (i.e. fresh water, clean air, land, marine environment, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, etc.) to sustain our lives. It reminds us of our need to preserve the biodiversity and remarkable beauty nature offers us all. This day is intended to foster appreciation for our environment and awareness of issues that threaten it.

On April 22, 1970, in a rare demonstration of unity, 20 million Americans – conservatives and liberals alike – celebrated the first Earth Day, taking to the streets to promote environmental conservation and respect for life on the planet, as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water, and land pollution. It was a real awakening for many Americans and marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement, which saw the passage of landmark environmental laws that still govern today. These laws include the Clean Air Act, Wilderness Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, and led to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Nearly 50 years later, despite decades of environmental progress, the state of our planet should still be of grave concern to all. Now is the time to re-up our commitments to do more to preserve and protect our environment for generations who will follow.

Citizens have an important role to play. It’s in our best interest to be more enlightened and take steps now to ensure the wise use of the Earth’s resources and protect its capacity for self-renewal. So, what can you do? Plenty.

Ten ways in which you can be a better environmental steward:

  1. Walk or cycle instead of driving; carpool or take public transport whenever possible.
  2. Carry reusable water bottles, bags, coffee cups, and take-away containers with you.
  3. Recycle and compost your waste.
  4. Buy energy-saving, compact-fluorescent light bulbs and other energy efficient products.
  5. Spend time in nature. Take a walk, a hike, deepen your connection to the natural world.
  6. Wash your laundry with cold water.
  7. Go meat- or dairy-free at least once a week.
  8. Go paperless; print two sided when you need to print.
  9. Buy local produce.

As we gear up for Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary in 2020, let’s pledge to do our part to protect our fragile and beloved planet and honor all that it provides for us. For more information about Earth Day, visit

For more information about the cosmetics and personal care industry’s commitment to a sustainable future, visit


PCPC Supports FDA Modernization

Lezlee Westine
President & CEO
Personal Care Products Council

The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and its member companies support modernizing the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act to ensure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the appropriate authority and resources to regulate cosmetic products in the 21st century.

Decades of consumer experience with our products demonstrate they are among the safest product categories regulated by the FDA. Nevertheless, we believe well-crafted, science-based reforms will support the industry’s ability to innovate and further strengthen consumer confidence in our products.

For more than a decade, PCPC and its member companies have worked with a bipartisan group of leaders in Congress and a diverse group of interested parties to create a more contemporary regulatory system for the cosmetics and personal care sectors.

We believe a comprehensive national program, based on the best available science, is needed to ensure uniform regulation of cosmetics throughout the country, in order to prevent an unworkable patchwork of differing state requirements across the nation.

Our member companies endorse a set of reform principles, including:

Mandatory Registration: Establish mandatory foreign and domestic manufacturing registration and ingredient reporting by manufacturers for all cosmetic products sold in the U.S.;

Adverse Event Reporting: Require mandatory reporting by manufacturers to FDA of serious and unexpected adverse health events from a cosmetic product marketed and used in the U.S.;

Mandatory Recall: Provide FDA authority to order a mandatory recall of a product if a manufacturer refuses to comply with an FDA request for a voluntary recall;

FDA Cosmetic Ingredient Review: Create an FDA program authorized to review the safety of individual cosmetic ingredients and nonfunctional constituents;

Cosmetic Records Inspection: Allow FDA to inspect a manufacturer’s records if FDA has a reasonable belief that a cosmetic product presents a health threat;

Safety Substantiation: Require manufacturers to substantiate the safety of cosmetic products and ingredients;

Alternatives to Animal Testing: Encourage FDA approval of alternatives to animal testing;

National Program Uniformity: Preempt state and local laws that would duplicate new authorities in FDA regulation of cosmetics; and

Importation: Bar importation of cosmetics produced outside the U.S. where the manufacturing facility or ingredient statement has not been registered with FDA.

Regulators, legislators, nongovernmental organizations, and industry are all on the same side when it comes to modernizing the FDA.

As different approaches are considered, we look forward to continuing to work with partners in the NGO community and leaders in Congress, including Senators Feinstein and Collins, Chairman Alexander, Ranking Member Murray, Chairman Pallone, and Rep. Shimkus, to create a more contemporary regulatory system for the personal care products sector—one that supports FDA’s public health mission, advances safety, innovation, and consumer confidence.