Beauty Care Topics

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Assessments of cosmetic ingredients by apps and online portals

Various internet portals and smartphone apps offer an “assessment” of cosmetic ingredients, e.g. based on barcodes of cosmetic products. These are primarily commercial offers. IKW considers that the criteria according to which cosmetic ingredients in these offers are assessed are not transparent.

Reliable statements on the effect, health safety or environmental compatibility of ingredients in cosmetic products can only be made on the basis of a sound scientific analysis considering the concentration of the ingredient in the respective finished product and its conditions of use. As far as we can see, the corresponding providers do not have, as a rule, the necessary scientific background, but use deliberately compiled catalogues of criteria. In many cases, the evaluations provided are based on individual scientific opinions which are not generally accepted, are outdated and/or are considered as questionable (see also this article in the "taz", 24.08.2016, in German). A good/bad assessment of individual substances on this basis, regardless of a concrete cosmetic formulation, is, therefore, not possible. In the same way any type of red/green or smiley classification of cosmetic ingredients is not scientifically tenable and unusable as an orientation for consumers.

Worries and concerns of the consumers are frequently reinforced in addition by undifferentiated media coverage which in many cases ignores the scientific facts. More reliable statements about the safety of cosmetic ingredients can, however, only be made if they are based on a broadly accepted, up-to-date scientific opinion as they are, for instance, defended by the independent consumer safety committee of the EU, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS).

IKW would like to stress that whoever buys cosmetic products in Germany can use these products without any concerns. More comprehensive information on this subject can be found here on the website of the Competence Partner Beauty Care within IKW.

The information portal offers, especially for consumers, a free-of-charge internet database. It includes scientifically neutral information on all ingredients of cosmetic products. The search is made through the INCI names as stated on the packages. The INCI database provides German translations of the individual substances, data on their function and mode of action in cosmetic products as well as references to more detailed information and scientific assessments.

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