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Cosmetic Products Get a Makover

New ISO Standard Aims to Protect Against Microorganisms

New York, Aug 24, 2007

For men and women alike, health and beauty products such as shampoo, toothpaste, and face and body creams are enlisted to help cleanse accumulated residue from the daily grind, as well as to enhance beauty and fight the signs of aging.

However, they can also carry the risk of infection. ISO 18416:2007, Cosmetics - Microbiology - Detection of Candida albicans, a recently published standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), will help to improve the quality and safety of hundreds of thousands of cosmetic products.

Cosmetics and the FDA

  • With the exception of color additives, cosmetic ingredients are not subject to pre-market approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Test Your Cosmetics IQ: Take the FDA’s cosmetics quiz.
  • Other FDA resources on cosmetics products and labeling are available here.

ISO 18416:2007 encompasses cosmetics intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying or altering one’s appearance. Candida albicans, a microorganism responsible for skin and mucous membrane infections, can contaminate cosmetics during the production process and cause adverse effects ranging from infections to severe allergic reactions.

The new international standard gives guidelines for the detection and identification of candida albicans, and will help reduce cases of infection by providing laboratories with a microbiological examination to ensure the quality and safety of cosmetic products. The examinations are carried out according to a microbiological risk analysis which considers several parameters including potential alteration of cosmetic products; pathogenicity of microorganisms; site of application of the cosmetic product (hair, skin, eyes, etc.); and the type of user (adult, child).

"The presence of microorganisms in cosmetics may cause chemical changes and spoilage of the product or may cause an infection hazardous to the consumer," said Mojdeh Rowshan Tabari, project leader and convenor of the working group that developed the standard. "It is vital, therefore, to ensure that cosmetics have been produced with the highest standards for quality and safety before they are put on the market for consumer use."

ISO 18416:2007 is one of a series of standards being developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 217, Cosmetics, for the detection and identification of microorganisms in cosmetic products. The standard can be used by both public and private laboratories working to ensure the creation of safe cosmetic products for consumers.

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