Controversial ingredients and allergens, are they the same thing?

4 December 2017

Sometimes people been asking themselves what is the difference between the controversial ingredients and allergens identified by our free mobile app CLEAN BEAUTY. Let us be clear, there is a real difference, and we’ll explain bellow.

Although the European Cosmetics Regulation that establishes the list of ingredients whose use is prohibited or subject to restrictions is already a major step forward in comparison with other countries, it does have some limitations. And the biggest one is undoubtedly the impossibility to take into account the cumulative effect (cocktail effect) of some ingredients that are a major topic of discussion within the scientific community.

For those ingredients that sometimes are already subject to restrictions, the regulation cannot predict neither the interaction between components, nor the presence of the same ingredient in several cosmetic products used daily by the consumer. Therefore, we exceed the maximum permitted concentration.

“Even if some of those ingredients just show an allergenic potential, the suspected reactions on human health are bigger than allergies. This applies in particular to endocrine disruptors and nanoparticles” explains Claire Gagliolo, Doctor of Pharmacy and Director of Research at OFFICINEA.

The situation is obviously very different when it comes to the allergens identified by CLEAN BEAUTY. They correspond to the 26 substances identified by the European Cosmetics Regulation and that must be reported compulsorily. These ingredients are all fragrances, even if not all of them are used as such. They may trigger allergic reactions in sensitized individuals. But be careful, allergies can affect anyone: they usually occur suddenly as a result of repeated exposure. In general, it is believed that 1 to 3% of the population is allergic to fragrance components (data from the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety).

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