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Cosmetic products will continue to be safe after Brexit

9 January 2019

You may have read an article in The Guardian that claims cosmetic products could contain unsafe ingredients after the UK leaves the European Union.  This is absolutely not the case, but CTPA understands that such stories could worry the many millions of us who use cosmetic and personal care products every day.

Dr Emma Meredith, Director-General of CTPA and a pharmacist, says:

I am disappointed in the article which contains many inaccuracies regarding both the current EU legal cosmetic framework and the future UK laws.  The UK authorities responsible for cosmetic legislation and the industry want to ensure that there is no lowering of the safety of cosmetic products on the UK market after we leave the EU.  As the voice of the UK cosmetics industry, and with the critical regulatory and scientific expertise, CTPA has been working very closely with the authorities to help ensure that the UK cosmetics laws are just as stringent and maintain the highest levels of human and environmental safety that our products achieve today. Please be reassured that our cosmetic products are and will remain safe to use and enjoy.”

Cosmetic Products and the Law

In Europe we have had robust cosmetic safety laws in place since 1976.  These strict legal requirements are in place to ensure human safety and to protect consumers from misleading claims concerning efficacy and other characteristics of cosmetic products.  

There are three layers to the safety assurance process:

  • European legislation requires cosmetics to be safe.
  • The professional Safety Assessor personally signs-off to say the cosmetic product is safe.
  • Products placed on the market are monitored; any adverse reactions are addressed by companies and may have to be reported to the authorities.


UK Safety Assured

As part of the European Union, the UK has been instrumental in the legislative process for cosmetic and personal care products. The EU cosmetics laws are seen as a gold standard across the world and products complying with these requirements are highly considered outside the EU.

The new UK cosmetic law proposed by the Government, and expected to be laid before the UK Parliament shortly, retain the requirement to only provide safe and effective cosmetic and personal products and mirror the current EU banned and restricted ingredients lists. CTPA has been working on this important issue with the UK authorities since the Referendum result. 

For any cosmetic product being placed on the UK market, irrespective of its origin, consumers can be reassured that both now and after we leave the EU all ingredients must be safe to use, as must the final cosmetic product.  

The European cosmetics market is the largest cosmetics market in the world. Establishing regulatory co-operation with USA authorities is important, but the UK cosmetics industry’s first export market is the EU and CTPA has engaged with the Government to stress that it is crucial that any potential Free Trade Agreement secured with the USA does not have a negative impact on the safety of UK consumers or our trading relationship with the EU. We are therefore confident that the proposed legislation covering the manufacture and import of cosmetic products onto the UK market, and the ingredients used, will ensure product and human safety.

The cosmetics industry is committed to support the development of mechanisms to maintain and enhance co-operation and long-term regulatory harmonisation between the UK and the EU post-Brexit.

Further information from CTPA on Brexit can be found at: www.ctpa.org.uk/Brexit