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Health assessment of Cosmetics

Products which come into contact with human skin must be non-hazardous to health. The BfR assesses the risks of cosmetic products - from lipstick to tooth bleaching agents - with the support of the Cosmetics Committee.

Skin cream, toothpaste, shampoo - for the BfR, cosmetics not only include decorative cosmetics such as lipstick or make-up but also all substances and preparations which are exclusively or predominantly intended to be applied externally to the body or in the oral cavity. This also includes suntan lotions, soap and other personal care products. Their common feature is that they are used for cleaning, keeping the skin and body in good condition, as perfumes and scents or to change a person's appearance. For the BfR, ensuring that cosmetic products are safe for consumers to use takes top priority.

Approval and notification

Cosmetics are not subject to approval. Only certain ingredients and additives like preservatives, colorants or UV filters have to be approved.

At the same time, however, producers of cosmetics must guarantee that their products do not pose any risk based on safety assessments.

The European Commission operates an internet portal via which cosmetic products have to be notified before they are marketed. Among other things, manufacturers are obliged to enter the formula of their product so that the poison centres can access the details in the course of their advisory work. Information on nano-sized ingredients must also be entered.

The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety provides more information on the notification process at www.bvl.bund.de/EN.

Assessment by the Cosmetics Committee

Where necessary, the BfR assesses the ingredients of cosmetics with regard to their health safety. It is supported in this task by the scientific Cosmetics Committee at the BfR.

The assessments also cover fragrances, ingredients of hair dyes and tooth bleaching agents, and UV filters.

Advisory role

The BfR advises the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture on the health risk assessment of cosmetics.

Legal bases

  • German Food and Feed Code (LFGB)
  • German Product Safety Act (ProdSG)
  • Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009

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FAQ

 (4 documents)
Date Title Größe
26.05.2015
BfR FAQ
Questions and Answers on Mineral Oil in Cosmetic Products 37.1 KB
PDF-File
01.12.2014
BfR FAQ
Questions and Answers on Microplastics 142.7 KB
PDF-File
27.01.2014
FAQ from the BfR
Questions and Answers on the Risk Assessment of Cosmetic Products 34.5 KB
PDF-File
01.06.2013
BfR FAQ
FAQs on tattoo inks 63.4 KB
PDF-File

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Opinion

 (22 documents)
Date Title Größe
26.05.2015
BfR opinion No. 014/2015
Mineral oils in cosmetics: Considering all available scientific evidence, no health risks are to be expected from absorption via the skin 39.0 KB
PDF-File
26.02.2014
BfR opinion No. 007/2014
Aluminium-containing antiperspirants contribute to aluminium intake 152.8 KB
PDF-File
10.02.2014
BfR Opinion No. 015/2014
Hair colouring products: self-tests can cause allergies 46.6 KB
PDF-File
01.02.2014
BfR Opinion No. 017/2014
Infection Risks through Tattooing 30.3 KB
PDF-File
31.01.2014
Updated BfR opinion No. 005/2014
Vitamin A: Intake via cosmetic products should be restricted 31.0 KB
PDF-File
03.01.2014
BfR opinion No. 032/2014
Polyethylene-containing microplastic particles: health risk resulting from the use of skin cleansing and dental care products is unlikely 31.8 KB
PDF-File
25.02.2013
BfR Opinion No. 007/2013
β-Arbutin in skin lighteners is a health risk 26.4 KB
PDF-File
22.01.2013
BfR Opinion No. 020/2013
Methylisothiazolinone (MI) contained in cosmetics may cause allergies 23.6 KB
PDF-File
28.08.2012
BfR opinion No. 013/2013
Requirements for Tattoo Inks 125.7 KB
PDF-File
04.06.2012
BfR Opinion No. 010/2013
Proposals for the guideline on the assessment of chemical risks in the European rapid alert system RAPEX 24.7 KB
PDF-File
22.12.2011
BfR Opinion No. 014/2012
Liquid agents for nail modelling with high methyl methacrylate contents present a health risk 31.7 KB
PDF-File
01.07.2011
BfR Opinion No. 044/2011
Some Tattoo Colours Contain Carcinogenic PAH 86.8 KB
PDF-File
19.01.2011
Opinion No. 024/2011 of BfR
Henna hair dyes that contain p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) pose a health risk 28.2 KB
PDF-File
17.11.2010
BfR Opinion Nr. 045/2010
Assessment of formaldehyde-containing hair straighteners 57.3 KB
PDF-File
18.06.2010
BfR Opinion Nr. 037/2010
Sunscreen: According to the current state of knowledge zinc oxide as UV filter is safe 28.5 KB
PDF-File
28.12.2009
BfR Opinion Nr. 024/2010
BfR recommends that nano-silver is not used in foods and everyday products 27.9 KB
PDF-File
13.07.2009
BfR Opinion No. 036/2009
Germs in shower gel 27.5 KB
PDF-File
27.01.2009
BfR Opinion No. 012/2009
Requirements for the safety assessment of tattooing agents 31.6 KB
PDF-File
10.10.2008
BfR Opinion No. 019/2009
Children's cosmetics should not contain any allergenic peanut oil 27.3 KB
PDF-File
06.08.2008
BfR Opinion No. 003/2009
Lip care products should not contain any boric acid 27.2 KB
PDF-File
01.09.2003
Opinion of the Federal Insitute for Risk Assessment
Use of undiluted tea-tree oil as a cosmetic 80.3 KB
PDF-File
06.08.2003
Opinion of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
UV-Filters in Sun Protection Products 115.1 KB
PDF-File

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Miscellaneous

 (2 documents)
Date Title Größe
28.05.2010
BfR Information 023/2010
Import of cosmetic products 28.9 KB
PDF-File
20.11.2006
Consumers vote on nanotechnology
BfR Consumer Conference on Nanotechnology in Foods, Cosmetics and Textiles 130.3 KB
PDF-File

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