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BB and CC Creams

BB and CC Creams

Breakthrough or hype?
Thursday, October 3, 2013

“Skin Perfector.”  “Balance, brighten, renew and protect.” “Anti-aging.” 

The ads sound too good to be true.  BB (stands for beauty balm) and CC (stands for color corrector or complexion corrector) creams claim to be all-in-one moisturizer, concealer, foundation and sometimes sunscreen.

What are they, really?  Do they contain harmful chemicals?  Are they better than the stuff on your dresser and in your bag?   We researched the formulations of more than 100 BB and CC creams and found, to our surprise --  Some BB/CC creams may be a good choice – if you do your homework:

EWG’s inquiry concludes that some of these multi-taskers are worth considering because:

-- Using one 1 product instead of three or four can reduce your exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals.

-- Some provide everyday protection from the sun’s dangerous rays, which cause aging and possibly cancer.

-- Many offer good value for the dollar. 

Most important, they typically don’t contain harsh, hazardous chemical peels or bleaching agents.  None of the BB and CC creams studied by EWG is made with hydroquinone, a possibly carcinogenic skin whitener that the federal Food and Drug Administration wants to ban and that is already barred in many other countries. 

But consumers must do their homework – because some BB and CC creams contain oxybenzone, an ingredient linked to hormone disruption, vitamin A derivatives, linked to skin cancer, or other potentially hazardous ingredients.

Why EWG rates BB and CC creams

If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration adequately regulated cosmetics and sunscreen products, consumers wouldn’t have to worry whether a BB or CC cream contained harmful ingredients or truly protected their skin from the sun. The FDA has issued a weak and incomplete set of regulations for over-the-counter sunscreen products. These rules do little to ensure public health protection. For years, FDA has promised to issue more stringent health-protective rules, but the agency has not delivered.

As long as government inaction leaves the public in the dark, EWG offers advice consumers can trust.