Nowadays, most of the cosmetic products on the market are composed by fragrances. Some substances of these fragrances may cause allergic respiratory or skin reactions; we call them skin or contact allergens. They can be synthetic chemicals or naturally occurring substances.
In Europe, we think that 1 to 3% of the population has a reaction after a contact with allergens. The most frequent symptoms are skin irritation and swelling. An allergic reaction depends on several factors, particularly genes, the age and the substances exposure intensity.
Current regulation provides a list of prohibited substances in its second annex, and a list of restricted substances in its third annex. The last updating was in 2003, so it’s today necessary to keep them up to date.
In June 2012, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) identified 3 new substances with a high allergenicity (atranol, chloroatranol and 4-(4-Hydroxy-4-methylpentyl) cyclohex-3-ene-1-carbaldehyde (HICC)), 12 chemical products and 8 natural extracts potentially irritating. A public meeting with the Committee’s members is scheduled from 13/02/2014 to 14/05/2014. The results will not be disclosed until the end of 2014, or the beginning of 2015. A transition period will be implemented.
The atranol and the chloroatranol will be prohibited in all cosmetics products with a period of two years after the regulation coming into force. The HICC will be withdrawn from the market after five years. The other allergens will be submitted to severe limitations quoted in the third annex of the European regulation. The transition period tabled to impose the inscription of all these substances on the label product like the 26 other allergens already restricted is three years after the modification coming into force.