Discover how low allergens can be achieved using smart innovation

Discover how low allergens can be achieved using smart innovation

Published: Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Earthoil, the personal care and cosmetics ingredients division of Treatt, offers a range of pure, organic, fair trade and natural essential oils.

Earthoil is committed to offering low-allergen ingredients and works to reduce the problems personal care manufacturers face in using essential oils. With consumers increasingly seeking safer and ethically sound personal care products, allergen levels create fresh opportunities for manufacturers worldwide to differentiate cosmetics and fragrances.

John Forbes, Global Technical Support Manager, explains “We pride ourselves in our ability to tailor our essential oils to meet individual customer requirements and aspire to further expand our range to match evolving consumer needs. Earthoil is well placed in the market to successfully deliver such ingredients and is backed by Treatt’s expertise in vacuum distillation.”
Earthoil currently offers a range of modified essential oils. They deliver natural fragrances that are safer for use on the skin and include low methyl eugenol rose oil, low furanocoumarin bergamot oil and low methyl eugenol tea tree oil.

In 1999, the European Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers published a list of 26 cosmetic ingredients, which in their opinion, had a potential to cause allergic reactions.

Currently under EU regulations, cosmetics sold to consumers that contain any of these 26 allergens need to display their presence on the product labelling if levels exceed the permitted volume for the class of product. The permitted level depends on whether the product is a ‘wash-off’ (e.g. body-wash) or remains on the skin (e.g. moisturising cream). These allergens may be from a natural source (an essential oil) or from a synthetic source (ingredients commonly used in fragrances).

As a result of current legislation, it is common to see citronellol, geraniol, linalool and other ingredients on the labels of cosmetic products as a warning to consumers who may be susceptible to these contact allergens. It is estimated that between one and three percent of the European population is allergic to some fragrance ingredients.1

The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has since proposed 82 substances, including the original 26, that could be allergens.

There are additional substances that naturally occur in essential oils which are also of concern from a health standpoint. Included in these is methyl eugenol, whose level in cosmetic products is restricted by the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation (EC) No 1223/20092 and also by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).

By reducing the level of allergens found in essential oils, it is possible to comply with EU regulations without additional cosmetic labelling.  In order to achieve the coveted ‘low-allergen’ positioning, an additional step is implemented into the production process. This involves removing allergens and undesirable biologically active components that naturally occur in several widely used essential oils. As it is a physical process, the product’s organic or fair trade status remains uncompromised, further improving overall consumer perception and ethical legitimacy, as well as maintaining the performance of the essential oil.