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Cosmeceuticals blur distinctions.

NEW YORK--Skin care products that offer both therapeutic and cosmetic benefits have the potential to rock the category.

So-called cosmeceuticals--which got their name from Retin-A, a prescription drug that was later found to enhance the appearance of the skin--are blurring distinctions between cosmetics and therapeutic skin care products.

Retin-A was approved as an acne treatment by the Food and Drug Administration over 20 years ago.

More recent studies indicate that it may also reduce wrinkles, but the federal agency has been reluctant to grant it such status because of fears that it might also increase the risk of cancer. Retin-A has also been associated with skin irritation, redness, flaking and high incidences of allergic reactions.

The distinction between products that make skin look younger and ones that make skin healthier has meant controversy for Ortho Pharmaceuticals Corp.

The Justice Department began investigating the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary after it ran advertising claiming that Retin-A rejuvenated the skin from within as it erased surface wrinkles.

Now, the firm is awaiting FDA approval of Renova, a mild form of Retin-A in a moisturizing base. If the federal agency grants approval, Ortho will be able to promote the drug as a product that can reduce wrinkles and age spots as well as revive damaged skin.

Such clearance would not only have a significant effect on Ortho (expiring patents on Retin-A will prompt other companies to sell versions of the drug), but also on the entire industry, since the the government will have acknowledged that a skin care product can make users look younger.

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Title Annotation:Ortho Pharmaceuticals Corp.'s Retin-A
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Previous Article:Acne treatments proliferate.
Next Article:Cosmetics/fragrance arena draws range of shoppers at chains.

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