Whether you’ve seen something on social media or in an article online, you might be worried that the cosmetic and personal care products that we all enjoy are made from ingredients that will impact on the health of you or your loved ones. Your concern is so important to us and we want everyone to be safe in the knowledge that the products we all use don’t impact on our health, and shouldn’t be giving you anxiety when you’re trying to look your best!
First of all, you can be completely confident that cosmetic products are safe for use. Not only do cosmetic companies care about your safety, but it is also a legal requirement. We all use cosmetic and personal care products in our daily routines to keep us clean, maintain healthy skin and teeth, to look good and smell nice, so having safe ingredients that make this happen is crucial.
All ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products undergo many studies, run by both industry expert scientists and independent scientists reporting to authorities across the world, before being introduced to the market. Also, every single cosmetic product must be approved by a safety expert before being sold. This safety assessment looks at the wealth of science behind the ingredients, who uses the products, how they are used and how often over a lifetime. Once in the marketplace, companies continue to monitor consumers’ use of their products and any new science that becomes available to affirm a product’s ongoing safety. Cosmetic products in the UK and EU must pass these strict assessments which are governed by the EU Cosmetics Regulation, a mandatory system which is seen as a gold standard across the world.
Despite this high level of product safety, this does not mean that a cosmetic product might never cause a reaction. If someone unfortunately has an allergy to a substance used in cosmetics, it is important that they are able to avoid this ingredient. This is the main reason behind the ingredient list, which you can find on every single cosmetic and personal care product. For cosmetics where a higher risk of allergy has been identified, such as with some hair dyes, the product will always carry a warning label and users will be advised to carry out an allergy alert test before applying the product in full.
Many claims are made online, via apps and other sources questioning the ingredients in our favourite products. These rumours do not take into account the vast amount of science and expertise behind every cosmetic ingredient and product. Misinformation is spread very easily, and sensational headlines can also cause fear. However, decisions over safety must be based on facts and data, on the evidence itself, and not on rumours or myths - no matter how often reported.
It’s also good to remember that the context in which an ingredient is used is key. Almost everything has the potential to be harmful if used to excess – even water! Sense About Science gives us a clear perspective on this.
Everyone should be absolutely confident that, when shopping for and using the products that make us look and feel our best, they have been thoroughly checked for safety by experts over a long period of time. The cosmetics industry is proud to offer details about the ingredients used in personal care products and the safety information supporting them here on our dedicated consumer information site.
No matter what the scare stories, cosmetic products in the UK are safe to use, and will always be safe to use, and we can all feel confident about using the products we love every day.