Polyaminopropyl Biguanide Banned. Sort of.

Safe to use, but I’d reformulate if I were them


A question about an ingredient from Sara.

Hi, just wondering if you could give some information on the preservative Polyaminopropyl Biguanide? Apparently it was banned by the EU in January 2015 however appears to be still used in many beauty products including up to very recently Liz Earle’s cleanse and polish. Many thanks.
Hello Sara,

No it hasn’t been banned, and it is probably safe to use. But no company with any sense will carry on using it.

What has happened is that it has been listed on a list of potential carcinogens. This means it is banned unless a committee called the SCCS upholds its use. They have looked at it and concluded that there is insufficient data to reach a conclusion. This leaves it in a bit of a legal limbo, and it might be banned at any minute. So if I were using it I’d be switching to something else as quickly as I could.

This is a good example of why you need to know the background to something before making any decisions about it, and why you can’t just look stuff up.  If you were to read the EU cosmetic regulations you’d see that it is listed as being fully legal.  There is nothing so misleading as facts.

If you are in the business and thinking of using it in a product you are making I suggest you don’t.

If you are wondering whether it is safe to use products you have already bought, I’d be happy to use them personally and I don’t think they pose any realistic risk to end users. But if you are really cautious, then ditch them.

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