New database helps formulators quantify long-term ingredient exposure

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

New database helps formulators quantify long-term ingredient exposure

Related tags Personal care Perfume Us

Just how much personal care and cosmetics product are loyal consumers in contact with? That’s what a team of researchers from the US and Europe – including two pros from P&G – set out to discover.   

The team looked specifically at fragrance ingredients. And, while some studies consider only the amount of an ingredient that a person is exposed to through a single application, this research project started with the premise that “the frequency and combinations of products used at specific times during the day will allow the estimation of aggregate exposure for an individual consumer, and to the sample population,” ​according to the abstract.

“Novel database for exposure to fragrance ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products,” is published in this month’s issue of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, a peer-reviewed Elsevier journal.

Sample size
What the team has done, essentially, is to model a strategy for considering the safety of personal care products that acknowledges the fuller spectrum of ingredients that any given consumer is exposed to beyond the product in question: “The data and modelling methods presented show potential as a means of performing ingredient safety assessments for personal care and cosmetics products,” ​reads the paper abstract.

An industry-wide or brand-specific ingredient evaluation protocol could be developed along the same lines.

And, the scope of the study is notable. The project took advantage of market research data on product use habits from 36,446 subjects in both the US and the EU, making it “the most comprehensive survey of habits and practices data for personal care and cosmetics,” ​according to article highlights posted by Elsevier.

Scent testers
The researchers database could be used to evaluate aggregate fragrance ingredient exposure, a useful tool in light of potential cumulative risks and consumer concern over ingredient safety.

When it comes to product safety, engineered beauty ingredients come under fire often enough and innovative indie brands are stepping in to meet the rising demand for natural products.

Founders of natural beauty brands are frequently motivated by health concerns. They commonly point to pregnancy or illness as the impetus for creating a line.

“When I was pregnant, the chemicals in perfume and the potential effects on my unborn child really concerned me. But [of] the naturals on the market…nothing was beautiful and elegant like the synthetics I was used to wearing,” a​ffirms Wendy Berger in a statement on the Pour le Monde perfumes site (WWD named hers as one of 6 indie beauty brands resonating at retail this month). Indeed, natural fragrance ingredients are in high demand​.

Extrapolating from this, consumers could easily conclude that if natural is better for people with sensitivities, it may well be better for everyone. This makes a safety assessment run using the sort of data compiled for the “novel database” paper all the more valuable.

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