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INCI of cosmetics, you know what you are applying on skin Part 13, triclosan

November 04, 2018
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INCI of cosmetics, you know what you are applying on skin Part 13, triclosan

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent used as a preservative in various cosmetic products, however it is believed that it can affect the thyroid and have harmful effects on health

  1. Triclosan

All our users, who are following Natural Remedies for a while now, know that we are giving a lot of importance to cosmetics, helping to recognize the most harmful ingredients in a face cream, soap or shampoo and to choose instead beauty products that contain really beneficial, nourishing and protective substances. Sometimes we give little recipes to prepare cosmetics at home, in order to have full control over the ingredients, but sometimes this is not enough, there is not always time to prepare homemade cosmetics or, in any case, the cosmetics we use every day are so many that we cannot self-produce everything! That's why learning to read INCI, the label that lists all the substances used in a cosmetic, can be very useful to choose products that really take care of our beauty. Today we see what it is and how to recognize triclosan.


Triclosan, this is also the name under which it appears in the INCI, is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial substance used as a preservative in cosmetics for its ability to fight germs. You can find triclosan in soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics but also in products for household hygiene, in detergents and even in bath sponges (Cooney, Environ Health Perspect, Jun 2010). Over the years it has been hypothesized a harmful action on health of triclosan since this substance has been detected in breast milk, urine and blood. Other studies are required in order to confirm or refute a possible dangerous effect, but at the moment triclosan is suspected of acting on the estrogen hormones of the body by modifying them and influencing the risk of developing breast cancer, but this consideration is still to be demonstrated (Dinwiddie et al, Int J Environ Res Public Health, Feb 2014). Triclosan is also accused of modifying, by reducing them, the thyroid hormones and also of affecting some biological processes related to the development of the fetus in pregnant women (Etzel et al, Environ Res, Jul 2018). Last but not least, since triclosan is largely used in a wide range of products, this substance is often detected in wastewater and has been shown to be toxic to living aquatic organisms (Tatarazako et al, Environ Sci., 2004). Currently in the European community the use of triclosan is allowed, but with limitations, in fact the maximum concentration of this substance is 0.3% in toothpaste, soaps, face powder, concealers and 0.2% in mouth washes. In the United States, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned its use in antibacterial hand and body cleaners, but allows its use in other products such as toothpastes. At the current state of knowledge, and given the suspicion about possible health risks, a good choice would therefore avoid cosmetic products that contain triclosan, especially during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in children.

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