The occurrence of plant compounds with known sensitizing potential in anti-aging cosmetics

Agnieszka Zabiegala, Jadwiga Wojtanowska, Radoslaw Spiewak

Department of Experimental Dermatology and Cosmetology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

Source: Zabiegala A, Wojtanowska J, Spiewak R. Wystepowanie skladnikow roslinnych o znanym potencjale uczulajacym w kosmetykach przeciwstarzeniowych. Pol J Cosmetol 2012; 15 (4): 259-266. (In Polish)


Background. Plant materials are frequently used in cosmetic industry, including production of anti-aging products owing to the skin nourishing and regenerating properties attributed to them, as well as to improve the final product's texture and scent. These ingredients, however, may cause allergic reactions, including contact allergy.
Aim. The aim of this study was to analyze the composition of facial cosmetics with declared anti-aging actions for the presence of plant ingredients with known sensitizing potential.
Materials and methods. We have analyzed 180 cosmetic products with declared anti-aging actions offered in wholesale outlets in Krakow and Lodz. Ingredients of the cosmetics, as stated on the product labels were analyzed according to INCI terminology. Based on European database Cosing, Internet database Cosmetic Analysis, as well as Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, we have identified plant ingredients. They were further analyzed in terms of sensitizing potential known from literature, based on queries in bibliographic database PubMed and Scopus.
Results. In the 180 cosmetics analyzed, we have identified 323 unique substances, among which there were 191 plant substances. Only 6 (3%) of 180 cosmetic product analyzed did not contain any plant material. Among the 191 identified plant ingredients, 29 (15%) were mentioned in medical literature as causes of allergic reaction. These sensitizing plant ingredients were present in 84 (47%) analyzed cosmetics.
Conclusions. Every second cosmetic product with declared anti-aging properties includes plant substances with known sensitizing potential, most frequently citronellol, bisabolol and geraniol.

Key words: plant ingredients, anti-aging products, sensitizing potential, contact allergy, allergic contact dermatitis.

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Testing for cosmetic allergy in Krakow (Cracow), Poland

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Document created: 2 February 2013, last updated: 3 February 2013.