We can be confident that, when using cosmetics and personal care products, they will have been through a detailed and standardised assessment process by a fully qualified safety professional, and will be safe to use.
Important ingredient labelling
Although adverse reactions to cosmetics and personal care products are low, it is unfortunately the case that some people may be allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients in a cosmetic product – just as some people are allergic to some foods or to pollen. That is why, by law, every cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery product will include a list of ingredients that the product contains. This important information is mainly there for people who have been professionally diagnosed with an allergy, so that they can avoid the ingredients to which they are allergic.
Always check the ingredient list
It is really important to always check the ingredients list available on the label of every product if you know that you are sensitive or allergic to a particular ingredient.
Ingredient names must, by law, comply with UK requirements and use the ‘International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients’, known as INCI. INCI means that in whichever European country a cosmetic product is bought, the ingredient names will be the same. These INCI names have also been adopted by many countries worldwide. If you have been diagnosed with an allergy to a substance, you may have been given the substance’s chemical name or common name.
CTPA has been working with UK dermatologists for many years to provide information about cosmetic ingredients and how they are named, and to work together on topics relating to allergy. CTPA has put together some tables to provide the corresponding INCI name for cosmetic ingredients which are more frequently associated with allergies or sensitisation.
You may see some cosmetic products labelled as ‘Hypoallergenic’. This means that companies have designed the product using ingredients to reduce further the incidence of adverse reactions to the product.
However, we are all individuals and we may react differently when exposed to certain substances. It is therefore really important that you always read the ingredient list for every cosmetic product, even if they claim to be hypoallergenic, to make sure they don’t contain an ingredient to which you are sensitive.
‘Hypoallergenic’ claims, or other claims with a similar meaning, should not give the impression that they guarantee a complete absence of risk of an allergic reaction, as no product can give such assurance.
Check with the company
As well as the useful information included on cosmetic product labels, manufacturers are also very happy to help. Contact details will be available on the product and through brands’ websites.