Anti-acne cosmetics available from cosmetics stores: An analysis of active ingredients and potentially harmful substances

Dominika Maciol, Katarzyna Kordus, Radoslaw Spiewak

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

Source: Maciol D, Kordus K, Spiewak R. Kosmetyki do cery tradzikowej dostepne w drogeriach: Analiza deklarowanych skladnikow aktywnych oraz substancji potencjalnie niebezpiecznych. Estetol Med Kosmetol 2012; 2 (3): 83-88.


The aim of the presented study was to analyze the lists of ingredients of anti-acne cosmetics available in cosmetics stores with regard to the presence of active ingredients, as well as prohibited substances or ingredients permitted for use in cosmetics with limitations due to their known sensitizing or irritating properties. Material and methods: Fifty anti-acne cosmetics available in cosmetics stores were included in this analysis, divided into five groups, each of ten products: make-up cleansers, tonics, spot removers, creams and masks. Using the internet database "COSING" we have identified the function of each ingredient, recording all active ingredients. Subsequently, "problematic" substances (i.e. those with known sensitizing or irritating potential) were identifies based on the respective annexes to the European "Cosmetics Directive": "List of prohibited substances in the cosmetic product" and "List of substances which can be used in the limited way". Results: In the analyzed 50 anti-acne cosmetics, there were altogether 353 unique substances, including 45 active ingredients and 46 "problematic" substances. No prohibited substances were identified in the lists of ingredients, only 2 products were free from any "problematic" substances, two anti-acne preparation contained no active ingredients. Conclusions: Not every anti-acne care cosmetic available in a cosmetics store contains active substances with confirmed anti-acne properties; on the other hand, almost all such cosmetics contain "problematic" components, including the preservatives and fragrance substances with known sensitizing and irritating properties. A confrontation of the present results with a previous study of anti-acne cosmetics distributed in chemists' shops also leads to the following conclusion: Anti-acne cosmetics in cosmetics stores differ from the cosmetics sold at chemist's in that they contain not only fewer active ingredients, but also fewer "problematic" substances.

Key words: acne, anti-acne cosmetics, active substances, 'problematic substances'

DOI: 10.14320/EMK.2012.017

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Dermatologist and allergist in Krakow (Cracow), Poland

Estetologia Medyczna i Kosmetologia

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Document created: 1 February 2014, last updated: 2 February 2014.