All over the world, different countries and regions regulate cosmetics under different legal frameworks. Marketing cosmetics containing any ingredient that makes the product harmful is against the law. Cosmetic manufacturers have a legal responsibility for ensuring the safety and labeling of their products to the consumers. So, it is essential to know about the local cosmetic regulatory restrictions on the ingredients of cosmetics in the market.
Cosmetic products in India are regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945 and Labelling Declarations by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Since 1973 BIS has been publishing a standard comprising of a negative list of raw materials. The first BIS Committee responsible for the standard preparation felt the necessity of such a list to guard against harmful substances used in the formulation of cosmetics.
Categories of Cosmetics Ingredients based on Safety
The ingredients for use in cosmetics are divided into the following two categories:
- Generally recognized as safe (GRAS)
- Generally not recognized as safe (GNRAS)
GRAS consists of generally recognized ingredients as safe and, when used in the concentration conventionally adopted, are permissible in cosmetics. Dyes, pigments, and colors are listed under this class.
GNRAS List consists of ingredients that are generally not recognized as safe. They are not permissible either in any amount whatsoever or in amounts exceeding those specifically laid down for cosmetics. Any ingredient classified as ‘GNRAS’ may be present as an impurity but not as a component of cosmetic preparation.
GNRAS lists for ingredients have been classified as per the following four lists:
- List of substance which must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products.
- List of substances which cosmetic products must not contain except subject to the restrictions and conditions.
- List of preservatives which can be present in cosmetic products.
- List of U.V. filters that cosmetic sunscreen products may contain.
There are more than 1300 substances as per the present list restricted in cosmetic products. Moreover, India also prohibits manufacturing and importing any cosmetic products containing harmful ingredients like hexachlorophene, lead, arsenic, or mercury compounds.
According to some studies, an average woman uses 12 personal care products with almost 168 different chemicals per day. The results of the study show that the skin may absorb up to 60 percent of the chemicals in the products it comes in contact. The list of restricted ingredients is expected to adequately safeguard consumers’ interest leave enough room for the development of newer raw material.
As previously mentioned, the safety of a cosmetic product largely depends on the safety of cosmetic ingredients. Both local manufacturers and cosmetic import license holders must be aware of the country-specific standards and follow the local regulations related to the ingredients.
- Available at: https://www.iaccindia.com/userfiles/files/Registration%20of%20Imported%20Cosmetics%20in%20India.pdf#:~:text=Banned%20items%3A%20India%20prohibits%20the%20manufacture%20and%20import,per%20million%20of%20arsenic%20calculated%20as%20arsenic%20trioxide.Accessed on: 16.07.20.
- Available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/lifestyle/wellness/story/beauty-products-chemical-composition-skin-harmful-effects-health-lifest-1022059-2017-07-03.Accessed on: 16.07.20.