The SCCS opinions published in summer 2021

September 29, 2021. This September we catch up on the latest SCCS opinions on substances used as cosmetic ingredients. Hence, we are going to summarize them so that you can stay updated on the latest news. In particular, we are going to focus on the findings concerning Methyl salicylate, Homosalate, Acid Yellow 3, and HAA299 (nano).


Methyl salicylate – CAS No. 119-36-8

At present, there are no restrictions on the use of Methyl salicylate under the EU Cosmetics Regulation. Generally, in cosmetic formulations, it has the function of a fragrance component and flavoring and soothing agent in oral hygiene products.

With the view of the classification of Methyl salicylate as a CMR substance Toxic for Reproduction Category 2 and Skin sensitizer Category 1B, on June 24-25, 2021, the SCCS issued a Preliminary Opinion on the safety of the substance in cosmetic products, indicating maximum concentration levels for various product categories. To find the limits stated in the SCCS opinion, you can consult’s Watch-out database.

Moreover, “the SCCS also notices that wintergreen oil that is used in cosmetic products may contain up to 99% methyl salicylate. Therefore, when calculating the content of methyl salicylate in a cosmetic product, any fraction coming from wintergreen oil should also be considered” (SCCS, 2021).

We can expect that the European Commission will restrict the use of Methyl salicylate according to the above-mentioned opinion.


Homosalate – CAS No. 118-56-9

Homosalate is used in cosmetic formulations as a UV filter up to a maximum concentration of 10% in the finished product (entry 3 of Annex VI to the EU Cosmetics Regulation).

Due to its potential endocrine-disrupting properties, in 2019, the European Commission included Homosalate in a list of substances that had undergone a priority safety assessment procedure. In the Final Opinion 1622/20, released on June 24-25, 2021, the SCCS concluded that the use of Homosalate as currently prescribed in the EU Cosmetics Regulation is not safe: the Scientific Committee believes that “the use of Homosalate as a UV filter in cosmetic products is safe for the consumer up to a maximum concentration of 0.5%” (SCCS, 2021).

We can expect that the European Commission will modify the restrictions concerning Homosalate to align with the SCCS opinion.

Should you be interested in deepening your knowledge on endocrine disruptors in cosmetic products, you can read the latest article freely available here.


Acid Yellow 3 C054 – CAS No. 8004-92-0

According to Annex IV to the EU Cosmetics Regulation, Acid Yellow 3 can be a colorant in non-oxidative hair coloring products up to a maximum on-head concentration of 0,5%. The SCCS Final Opinion 1631/21 confirmed that this use is safe for human health.


Another topic of great interest within the cosmetics industry is the use of nanomaterials: the European Union is working on the adoption of a new horizontal definition of nanomaterial, to align all sectors. At present, the definition included in the EU Cosmetics Regulation differs from the one adopted in other legislations – for example, the REACH Regulation – and this might create discrepancies.

The SCCS is currently assessing the safety of several substances in nano form. In this context, in the past few months, the Scientific Committee has published its conclusions on the following substances:

  • Platinum (nano), Colloidal Platinum (nano) and Acetyl tetrapeptide-17 Colloidal Platinum (nano);
  • Gold (nano), Colloidal Gold (nano), Gold Thioethylamino Hyaluronic Acid (nano) and Acetyl heptapeptide-9 Colloidal gold (nano);
  • HAA299 (nano).

As for the Platinum and Gold nanomaterials, in the Final Opinions 1630/21 and 1629/21, issued in June 2021, the SCCS concluded that it was not possible to carry out the related safety assessments due to the lack of essential information, therefore, further investigation on these substances is necessary.


HAA299 (nano)

In the SCCS Preliminary Opinion on HAA299 (nano) published on July 22, 2021, the SCCS declared that, due to its low dermal absorption and systemic toxicity, the use of HAA299 (nano) as a UV filter is safe up to a maximum concentration of 10% in dermally applied cosmetics. Furthermore, this limit is safe for HAA299 in its bulk form as well. In conclusion, we can assume that in the coming times, both HAA299 (nano) and HAA299 will be added to the list of UV filters allowed to be used in cosmetics (Annex VI to the EU Cosmetics Regulation).

After an eight-weeks commenting period, on October 26-27, 2021, the SCCS issued its final opinion on HAA299 (nano): no changes have been made to the preliminary version.

The series Keep up with cosmetics news! on SCCS meetings precisely addresses the current SCCS mandates and the expected opinions – Find out the Part 1 here.


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