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Cosmetics can cause serious adverse effects

Permanent hair dye gives the most serious adverse effects, yet there are also many reactions to facial and body moisturisers. This comes from the first report from the National Register of Adverse Effects from Cosmetic Products published by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

"The Register gives us a better overview of the products that cause adverse effects, the type of adverse effect and who experiences them. Then we can make an assessment and even warn against the use of certain products," says researcher Berit Granum at the Division of Environmental Medicine at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

During the first two years, the Register received 96 notifications, of which the majority related to product types as moisturisers, cleansers, sunscreens and hair colouring products.

Dangerous hair dye

Permanent (oxidative) hair dye is the product type that has given the most severe reactions. During the Register's first two operational years notifications were received from seven people, of which most were adverse effects of an allergic nature.

People who develop allergies to hair dye often have symptoms such as eczema, redness, blistering, and itching of the scalp, face and throat. People can also experience severe swelling on the forehead and around the eyes. Symptoms usually appear one to two days after hair colouring and may persist for about a week to several months.

Most adverse effects from moisturisers

Facial and body moisturisers are the product type that is most frequently reported to the register. The adverse effects vary from mild symptoms that disappear a few hours or a few days after the consumer has stopped using the product to severe reactions that may persist for several weeks with symptoms such as eczema, rash, blistering and itching.

What are cosmetic products?

Cosmetic products are much more than make-up and perfume. It includes all products that are applied to the external parts of the body, such as teeth and oral mucous membranes and are intended to prevent body odour, to clean, perfume, protect, preserve or affect the appearance.

Therefore we can assume that virtually the entire Norwegian population, both men and women, uses one or more cosmetic products daily.


Contact: Julie Johansen
Norwegian Institute of Public Health

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