Propyl Gallate is an antioxidant preservative used in cosmetics to stop oxygen mixing with oil. It is widely used across the colour cosmetics, sunscreens, skin cleansers and self-tanning segments.
Currently, the preservative is not on the prohibited list nor is its' use restricted in cosmetics as regulated by strict EU laws (the Cosmetic Products Regulations EC No 1223/2009).
While under review, Propyl Gallate was found to be non-irritating at concentrations of up to 10, but was found to be a sensitizer at concentrations as low as 1%.
It was this substance newly added to Dior's Addict ‘Dolly Pink’ lip gloss formulation that UK resident, Lynda Roberts complained she had experienced an allergic reaction to, causing her lips to blister.
On contacting the luxury player, the brand arranged for Roberts to have tests which revealed the reaction was in fact due to the preservative.
Dior: “Consumer safety is our main priority”
As the media caught onto the story, Christian Dior announced that it was; "sorry to learn of our consumer’s condition and were grateful that she had taken the time to return the product for analysis” and that a case like this will be passed onto the industry's scientific bodies to continue to inform the sector on up to date regulations.
According to the Director General of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, Dr Christopher Flower; "Such reactions are rare but are nevertheless of concern and distressing for those affected."
He notes that this does not mean the product is unsafe but that anyone who has reacted to a product and knows which ingredient caused that reaction must avoid the same ingredient in any other cosmetic too.
Flower further notes that the ingredients contained in the Dior Addict Gloss were 'clearly set out on the product'.
Dior has since sent a letter to Roberts apologising for the ‘inconvenience’ and at Lynda’s request, donated her refund to charity.