What cosmetic preservatives can you use and where?

Safety concerns surrounding certain preservative ingredients have resulted in a shrinking number of allowed preservatives for use in cosmetics. Christine Oleschkewitz explains the regulatory statuses of commonly used preservatives internationally and discovers how the industry is starting to stand its ground against bad science

More than at any time in our industry’s history, cosmetic ingredients are facing regulatory scrutiny based on safety concerns.

Increasing numbers of substances are being evaluated with regard to their potential effect on human health, for example in terms of their possible allergenic potential, endocrine-disrupting properties or activity as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reproductive toxins (CMR).

The reassessment of cosmetic ingredients by legislative bodies has become part of the normal regulatory process. This is especially true for the all-important category of cosmetic preservatives.

Nevertheless, there is a legitimate industry concern about the shrinking number of ‘allowed’ listed preservatives.

Easy internet access to unscientific discussions on actives has damaged the reputation of preservatives and led to a noticeable impact on consumer behaviour.

The following information shall give an overview about expected changes in cosmetic regulations, as well as a European initiative to counter the denigration of authorised ingredients.

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