Did you know: regulators will hold the organisation promoting the product responsible for what is said about the ingredients it does (or does not) contain, so you need to make sure any information you provide in relation to your brand is factual, based on scientific evidence and not misleading to a consumer, regardless of what your competition is saying or doing.
There are certain sites which provide correct and scientifically based information – including some sites with regulatory information providing ‘safe when used’ limits as well. Make sure your information is correct and from a valid source before making a claim.
Top Site #1: EU Commission CosIng: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/
Undoubtedly the best site for correct INCI names (for labelling purposes), safety information, regulatory limits and determining the function/role of an ingredient in a product. Even though it is EU specific, this site contains a wealth of safety information and limits to ensure safe usage of cosmetic chemicals. Also offered by the EU Commission, you can search the Opinions of the Science Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS): http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/all_opinions/index_en.htm
Top Site #2: The Poisons Standard (AU SUSMP): http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2015L00128
An Australian site showing limits on materials to be used under various Poisons schedules; cosmetics cannot contain ingredients scheduled as S2, S3, S4 or S8 and have extensive labelling requirements for ingredients classified as S5 and S6. This gives good guidance on ‘safety’ of materials for cosmetic ingredients by ensuring they are not listed on the SUSMP or are instead used within limits specified.
Top Site #3: US FDA Cosmetic Ingredients: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm2016770.htm
Provides a good, factual overview of common controversial ingredients as well as determinations and advice on their safety when used in cosmetic products. Using information from this site combined with results of searches on the other 2 top sites provides comprehensive ingredient information direct from the Regulators in 3 important regions (EU, AU and US).
Top Site #4: Cosmetic Ingredient Review: http://www.cir-safety.org/
Reviews scientific information in a rigorous manner to ensure accuracy in determining suitability and safety of cosmetic ingredients. Reports are written in a technical manner presenting full details of how determinations on safety/suitability have been made. A good reliable site for ingredient information.
Top Site #5: Furphies: http://www.furphies.org.au/cosmetics--personal-care.html
A great site based on scientific fact written in an easy-to-understand manner for consumers and the non-chemically minded. It exposes the top myths of cosmetic ingredients and provides consumer confidence about the safety of ingredients as used.
Why does so much misinformation exist?
The top two things that sell product are:
- FEAR – the fear of using something potentially harmful on your skin is undoubtedly the biggest motivator to change a purchasing behaviour, so some companies sell ‘FEAR’ about ingredients they don’t use to imply their products are safer. Would you purposely use something that is known or even suspected to cause cancer? No – so if you read a compelling enough ‘story’ about an ingredient that could cause you harm, you would then be inclined to purchase a product that does not contain the suspect ingredients. You could be supporting the purchases of product based purely on fear, rather than fact. The sites mentioned here provide regulatory limits based on ensuring safe use by consumers.
- HOPE – the promise of a product providing you with an answer to your problems; whether it be whiter skin, less wrinkles or less pimples. When purchasing on hope, look for scientific evidence of clinical testing/results to back up claims to help determine if that product really will be likely to deliver on its promises and don’t over-expect from a cosmetic – they are cosmetics, not medical devices or surgery!
Avoid senseless fear mongering
Sometimes we also see organisations so convinced by misinformation on the internet or responding to consumer concerns about misinformation (fear) that they seek to avoid perfectly safe materials for no good reason other than fear.
They often believe the misinformation they are spreading and think they are actually helping inform people correctly! It is misleading (and not compliant) to imply an ingredient or product has benefits (or harm) that it does not have.
It is a company responsibility to ensure their marketing materials comply and product promotions are based on scientifically proven hope for a much happier consumer base.
There are some amazing materials now available to give dramatic skin and hair results from various personal care products – it’s time to focus on safe, high performance from revolutionary and innovative formulations that are science based and clinically proven.