Study recommends saturated hydrocarbon be kept at low levels in cosmetic lip products


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Study recommends saturated hydrocarbon be kept at low levels in cosmetic lip products

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A study carried out in Switzerland suggests that the levels of saturated hydrocarbons found in lipsticks and other lip care products should be kept at low enough levels to avoid a substantial increase in exposure for regular users.

These hydrocarbons in these products either stem from mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) or are synthetic, polyolefin oligomeric saturated hydrocarbons (POSH), and some are strongly accumulated and form granulomas in human tissues, which prompted Cosmetics Europe to issue a recommendation for their use in lip care and oral products.

The research team from the State Laboratory Basel-City and the Official Food Control Authority of the Canton of Zurich, state that taking into account that material applied to the lips largely ends up being ingested, MOSH and POSH levels should be reduced in the majority of cosmetic lip products.

“Presently, it might be most appropriate to keep the MOSH+POSH concentrations in lipsticks and lip care products at a level low enough to avoid a substantial increase in the total exposure to these hydrocarbons by regular users, which means that they should be clearly below 5%,”​ says the study, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science​.

“As 39 of the 175 investigated products contained less than 3% MOSH+POSH, this seems feasible.”

Testing levels

To carry out the tests MOSH+POSH were determined in 175 cosmetic lip products taken from the Swiss market in order to estimate their contribution to human exposure.

Mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons and POSH were extracted and analysed by gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detector (FID), which is a scientific instrument that measures the concentration of organic species in a gas stream.

These tests found that around 68% of the products contained at least 5% MOSH+POSH (total concentration), and the scientists say that for regular users, these products would be major contributors to their MOSH+POSH exposure.

About 31% of the products contained more than 32% MOSH+POSH and their regular usage would amount in an estimated MOSH+POSH exposure exceeding the highest estimated dietary exposure.

The majority of the products contained hydrocarbons with a molecular mass range which was not in line with the recommendations of Cosmetics Europe.

“As the extensive evaluation of the data available on MOSH (EFSA J., 10, 2012, 2704) did not enable the specification of limits considered as safe, the present level of dietary exposure and its evaluation as ‘of potential concern’ provide the relevant bench mark, which means that lip products should contain clearly less than 5% MOSH+POSH,”​ concludes the study.

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