Are preservatives in cosmetics harmful to us?

Synthetic preservatives in cosmetics: how questionable is their use?

  1. 24vita
  2. Allergies & intolerances
  3. Allergies
  4. Contact allergy

Created: Updated:

From: Jasmina Deshmeh

Preservatives in cosmetics are important for the shelf life of the products, but can cause skin irritation and contact allergies in sensitive people (symbol image). © imago images / Panthermedia

The preservation of cosmetics is much discussed: on the one hand, it ensures durability, on the other hand, certain preservatives can cause skin irritation and even trigger allergies. Which preservatives should allergy sufferers avoid.

Mönchengladbach - Ob Lipstick, nourishing cream or Hair conditioner, the range of cosmetic products is almost endless. However, consumers cannot always use the products without hesitation. So contain many cosmetic items Declarable preservatives. Although these chemicals prevent bacteria or mold from settling in the products through skin contact, heat and solar radiation, people with sensitive skin should reconsider their use, as they Skin irritation and even contact allergic reactionscan trigger.

Questionable preservatives in cosmetics: which preservatives are questionable?

Many manufacturers use it Preservatives in cosmetics, to reduce the risk of contamination by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi that naturally live on the skin and to ensure that the product is safe for the intended period of use. Will not Preservatives added, spoiled cosmetics can cause irritation, infection, or other health risks. Against this background, the use of Preservatives according to the European Commission in Cosmetics makes sense.

Unfortunately, some have Preservatives but also disadvantages, because they can Irritate skin and Allergies trigger. To the questionable ones Preservatives belong according to the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB) for example:

  • formaldehyde
  • Methyldibromoglutaronitrile MDBGN
  • Methylisothiazolinones (MCI / MI mixture)

The use of such Preservatives in cosmetics is now severely restricted or even banned in the EU. Many manufacturers also use it natural preservatives how essential oils or alcohol. With an existing Fragrance allergy but can also cause these problems, as the DAAB points out. (Allergies to natural cosmetics: why natural is not necessarily more tolerable)

Questionable preservatives in cosmetics: this is how consumers recognize allergic reactions

When it's through Cosmetics to Redness, rash, or blisters a doctor should clarify whether the skin changes are a Contact allergy on Preservatives acts. It makes sense to keep the product and bring it to the practice. After taking a detailed anamnesis, the doctor will provide a special one if there is any suspicion Skin test, the Patch test carry out. In doing so, allergen solutions are made using special band Aid applied to the skin and removed after 24 to 48 hours. The allergist can read off the first skin reactions. A second reading is taken after one to two days and a third reading after another two to four days, because some Contact allergens solve only after several days allergic symptoms from (late-type allergies). (Controversial fragrances in cosmetics: How dangerous are Lilial, Linalool and Limonene?)

Questionable preservatives in cosmetics: How do consumers know whether they contain preservatives?

According to the Federal Food Safety and Consumer Protection Office (BVL)applies to Cosmetics, similar to food: all ingredients have to be in written form on the packaging be listed. According to EU cosmetics law, they must be sorted according to their weight percentage and listed in descending order. The more a product contains of a substance, the higher up it is listed. If an ingredient is less than one percent of the total recipe, this rule does not apply. For products with small packaging (e.g. make-up) manufacturers do not have to indicate the ingredients on the packaging. The ingredients must be on Shelves / stands be visibly listed in stores.

In addition, certain cosmetics do not need to be preserved, as certain ones already ingredients or properties of the product inhibit the growth of microorganisms, such as the addition of alcohol (e.g. in aftershave) or a high pH value. Also anhydrous cosmetics, like powder, usually does not need any preservatives, as germs find it difficult to multiply in the dry environment.

Questionable Preservatives in Cosmetics: Tips for Using Non-Preserved Products

There is now a large range of Cosmetics without allergenic preservatives on the market. Consumers can recognize them by, for exampleDAAB logo the German Allergy and Asthma Association, the ECARF logo the European Foundation for Allergy Research or that DHA logo the German skin and allergy help.

When using preservative-free cosmetics, however, there are a few things to consider:

  • Close tubes, jars, and bottles and store in a dark, cool place
  • Pay attention to instructions such as "store in a cool place after opening" or "do not use on irritated skin"
  • Use the products quickly
  • Make a note of when you opened a product (for example with adhesive labels) and dispose of any obsolete products
  • Throw away cosmetics when the color, smell or consistency has changed

This article only contains general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. Under no circumstances does it replace a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical pictures.