Understanding the Puffery
by Judith E. FoulkeHuman placenta
is the nourishing lining of the womb (uterus), which is expelled after birth. When placental materials were first used as cosmetic ingredients in the 1940s, manufacturers promoted the products as providing beneficial hormonal effects such as stimulating tissue growth and removing wrinkles. (Although newborn infants emerge from the womb with wrinkled skin!) The hormone content and the tissue-growth and wrinkle-removing claims classified the placenta-containing products as drugs, and FDA declared them to be ineffective and therefore misbranded.
FDA's challenge caused placenta suppliers to change marketing strategies by claiming that hormones in their placenta ingredients had been extracted and were no longer in the product. They then offered placental raw materials without medical claims--only as a source of protein.
Can you get a disease from placental cosmetic ingredients? Bailey says no. Placenta used in cosmetics is washed and processed many times to destroy any harmful bacteria or viruses. Besides that, says Bailey, the cosmetic matrix (components that bind the ingredients in products) is made from a wide variety of substances, such as alcohol and preservatives, that would present a hostile environment to any viruses or bacteria the placenta might have carried.