SCCS gives opinion on thioglycolic acid
The SCCS is currently of the opinion that the general use of the substance (personal use by consumers at home) on eyelashes is not recommended because of eye irritation potential. However, it is still considered safe up to 11% when applied by a professional for use on the area.
Concerns were originally raised by Denmark officials regarding the local safety of 'hair chemical removers' i.e. depilatory products containing thioglycolic acid and its salts (thereafter designated as TGA), Cosmetics Europe submitted a document containing post marketing surveillance (PMS) data on these cosmetic products.
In this instance the Committee will be taking into account the scientific data available on whether the acid is safe for use on eyelashes (after mixing with oxidative hair dyes found safe for use in hair dye products) in concentrations up to 8% for general use and up to 11% for professional use applied on eyelashes.
It will also be considering if thioglycolic acid and its salts (TGA) are still safe for use as depilatories in cosmetic products in a concentration up 5.0% taking into account the data provided from Cosmetics Europe.
"The safety of these types of cosmetic products highly depends on responsible risk management including warnings and extensive guidance for use."
Regulation as it stands now..
Thioglycolic acid and its salts (including the ammonium salt) are currently regulated in the Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009 in Annex III entry 2a.
The previous EU Cosmetics Directive 76/768 of 27 July 1976 did not contain any definition of 'hair' or 'hair product', and therefore does not contain any specific requirements for the application of hair (care) products to eyelashes, except for a number of provisions relating to some specific substances.
Hair dye products containing these subances must be labelled "Do not use to dye eyelashes and eyebrows" unless intended for professional use. The Directive was replaced as from 11 July 2013 by the Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009.