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What Are Amazon Topicals and Why Does Amazon Restrict Sellers?

Requirements to Sell Topicals on Amazon

What Are Topicals On Amazon

Amazon is completely aware of some of the potential issues in allowing sellers to offer topicals without any supervision.

Mostly, they are concerned with the safety and good health of their customers. Thus, they do adhere to regulations set out by the food and drug administration (FDA), as well as their own set of rules regarding this category of products. 

To be better understand, and to continue our discussion on topicals, let’s answer this two-part question:

What exactly are Amazon topicals, and why are there such strict rules when selling them?

What Are Amazon Topicals?

Anything that is applied directly to the skin is referred to as topical.

Ointments, creams, serums, and even cosmetics can be classified as topical products because they are applied directly to the skin.

Because of differences like weight, keratinization levels, skin thickness, and several others between children and adults, there are subtle but important differences between topical products acceptable for children and those suitable for adults. 

If you want to sell topicals on Amazon and need to get ungated, you should review our big guide here, on Ungating Topicals.

Topicals For Adults

Adults use topicals for several reasons. Some use them for cosmetic reasons, as in the case of lotions, creams, and ointments. Others can be used as drugs to treat blackheads, fungal infections, acne, heat rashes, etc.

Sun screen or UV protection is a perfect example of a topical.

Another common example of a topical for adults is Sulphur. Sulfur treats various skin conditions. Acne treatments include sulfur cream, lotion, ointment, and soap. Sulfur ointment treats seborrheic and scabies. In fact, doctors may prescribe sulfur for different ailments. But, they are medical professional who know what they are doing. Therefore, some are given in prescriptions, and some are sold over-the-counter.

The potency of the medication dictates the recommended daily dosage that the patient should take.

In addition, the type of medical condition you are treating with the medication determines the number of dosages you should take each day, the amount of time that should pass between doses, and the total amount of time you should take medicine.

Topicals For Children

Topicals may be indicated for use in children for several reasons. Topical Steroids are a very common one for children.

Children frequently receive therapy with topical steroids for a wide variety of skin rashes, including atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema), contact dermatitis, itchy dry skin, and insect bites.

Even if they are effective, extra caution must be used while selecting and administering these medications to children because they are more likely to experience adverse reactions. This is the main reason rules are very strict when selling items targeted toward babies, infants, toddlers, and young kids.

Even over-the-counter (OTC) creams and salves, as well as homemade concoctions are heavily monitored. The Food and Drug Administration of the United States (FDA) has authorized the use of only a select few topical steroids in children.

A popular example is Hydrocortisone which is a weak steroid. It treats mild eczema, bug bites, and other minor skin irritations.  Hydrocortisone cream and ointment come in 0.5% to 1% dosages at the drugstore. Cortizone, Cortaid are brand names.

Why Might Amazon Restrict A Seller from Selling Topicals?

As you can probably see by now, topicals are serious category, due to the potential effects of using the products.

Additionally, it is important for Amazon to know what exactly someone is selling, to whom they are marketing, and what they are claiming to be true in terms of cures or efficacy.

The gated process is a clear way to deter and keep out rogue individuals that may offer items contrary to laws and statutes.

To be honest, as a consumer, this is a positive action, and as a seller, most legitimate ones would welcome keeping out the others. Bad sellers give everyone a bad name.

To summarize:

  • It gives buyers a sense of security that comes with knowing that the topical goods they purchase on Amazon have been vetted for quality and safety before being made for sale.
  • It denotes that you, as a merchant, are included in the group of other approved sellers. You won’t have to worry about cringe-worthy reviews of skin irritation and damage, along with the emotional distress that typically accompanies such complaints, appearing on your listings for products originally sold by another vendor.

There are several rules sellers of topicals on Amazon must follow if they want to keep using the platform, but here are some of the most important ones.

  • The toxicity of lead to humans has been studied and documented in great detail. The United States Food and Drug Administration uses the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act to regulate cosmetics. These rules mandate those cosmetics sold in the U.S. be safe and appropriately labeled under normal settings. Cosmetic color additives require pre-market approval. As part of their safe usage, FDA has specified limitations for lead impurities in color additives. 10 to 20 ppm is typical (ppm). FDA tests compliance with these criteria regularly.
  • Mercury compounds are only authorized as eye area preservatives. Mercury must be less than 65 parts per million (ppm) in the finished product to be utilized as a preservative. No eye cosmetics contain these preservatives. Mercury is only allowed in cosmetics in trace amounts less than 1 ppm.
  • Color additives must be FDA-approved for their intended usage, unlike other cosmetic compounds. Color additive rules must be met. Heavy metal impurities are limited. FDA establishes limitations based on how and how much a color additive is used. Cosmetic color additive restricts arsenic to 3 ppm.

Amazon has its own rules as well, and it mentions that cosmetics must be safe and not provide an unjustified risk of injury or sickness, such as:

  • The heat releases formaldehyde from methylene glycol-containing products.
  • Permanent eyelash dye
  • Kohl, Kajal, Al-Kahal, and Surma
  • Mercury-containing skin creams Henna products for body-decorating or direct skin application.

Further, Amazon’s cosmetics policies also reference these points as other restrictions:

  • Shark, whale, dolphin, or porpoise-derived cosmetics are banned.
  • Cosmetics containing above 12% hydrogen peroxide are banned.
  • Nail polish remover and other acetone-containing cosmetics cannot exceed 16 oz.
  • Asbestos is not an acceptable ingredient in makeup.
  • Arsenic, mercury, and lead are highly controlled in cosmetics, especially facial creams.

Final Note on Learning How To Sell Topicals on Amazon

Topicals are wonderful products used by millions of people on a daily basis. They form part and parcel of many individual beauty regimes, and are welcome additions to any shopping adventure.

Today, there is an endless array of creams, potions, salves, ointments, and other mixtures to do almost anything to prevent rashes, sunburn, wrinkles, pimples, blemishes, and other skin maladies.

But, the key issue here is safety. When we buy a product, we have certain expectations, and so does the government, and finally Amazon.

That is why it best for everyone that this is a restricted or gated category.

Vinny Ly

Vinny Ly

I have been helping Amazon sellers sell more inventory and increase revenues by guiding them through the process of ungating difficult Amazon categories, brands, and products.

I have spent years doing this for my own ventures and have helped countless other businesses reach inaccessible markets and tap into lucrative expansion.

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