Cosmetic products contain numerous metals used as pigments, UV filters, preservatives, antiperspirants, and antimicrobial agents, as well as occurring as unintentional pollutants, and therefore represent a significant source of metal exposure. These include among others the metal allergens (e.g., nickel, chromium, and cobalt), as well as metals characterized by a high toxicity (e.g., cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic). Allergic skin reactions are the most commonly occurring reactions to metals present in cosmetics, with nickel the most important metal allergen. Cosmetics belong to the group of household products that most often cause allergic reactions, but until now insufficient attention has been paid to the allergenic potential of metals in these preparations. The possible presence of metals in cosmetics, including those capable of inducing allergic reactions, in conjunction with reports of allergy due to the presence of metals at low concentrations (below 1 μg/g), shows that the limits of metals recognized as “unavoidable impurities” should be defined and efforts undertaken to reduce the content of metals in cosmetics. Individuals who are allergic to metals should avoid using products containing them. This chapter provides an overview of cosmetics as a source of exposure to metals, with particular emphasis on metal allergens, to bring more attention to the health threat related to the presence of these metals in cosmetics.
KeywordsCosmetics Allergen metals Nickel Chromium Cobalt Allergic contact dermatitis
Food and Drug Administration
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.
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