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Cosmetics users [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for cosmetics users.

Like 71 % of European consumers, you possibly think the cosmetics and skin care products you use are important in your everyday life and have a strong influence on your wellbeing and quality of life.

While humans have used cosmetics since antiquity, to clean, beautify, and smell good, or as medicine, they are not without danger. A number of apparently safe ingredients can lead to undesirable side-effects, such as allergies or dermatitis.  In more concentrated forms or larger quantities, they may also be poisonous.

Natural cosmetic. A small glass jar with cream for skin care face and fresh clover flowers on a light background.

©elizaveta66 / Fotolia

Europe is widely recognised as a producer and exporter of high-quality cosmetics. To guarantee this quality and also ensure they are safe to use, the EU harmonised rules about cosmetics as early as 1976. The Cosmetics Regulation controls all the ingredients like colorants, preservatives or UV-filters, used in the cosmetics industry. This way, you can be sure that the products you use won’t have any adverse effects on you, or on the environment (e.g. microplastics).

In addition, an EU ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes ensures that animals are not harmed, and EU-funded research, such as SEURAT-1 or EU-ToxRisk, seeks alternative testing methods. The EU also supports new business opportunities through advances in science that can be applied to cosmetics: programmes like MAGNIFICENT or MACRO CASCADE, for example, that are developing new products from algae.

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