One in four body lotions fail chemical test

12. aug 2015

Body lotions can contain allergenic preservatives and substances which are suspected to be endocrine disrupting. The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has checked 54 different body lotions and 24% contain one or more unwanted substances.

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Body lotion test
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

Unwanted substances in body lotions

To many people body lotion is essential to use after a shower where the water and heat have made the skin dry. However, consumers should have an extra look on the list of ingredients before they apply the content to the skin.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has examined the list of ingredients on 54 body lotions on the Danish market, many of them international brands. The examination reveals that 13 body lotions – 24% – contain unwanted substances. The substances in question are allergenic preservatives and substances (for example parabens) which have shown endocrine disrupting effects in animal studies.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are suspected to cause several ailments such as declining semen quality in boys and too early puberty in girls.

‘Unsafe’ substance in body lotion

‘Cien Body Lotion’ from the supermarket chain Lidl contains the substance cyclopentasiloxane, which does not belong in body lotions according to the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

The European Environment Agency has in its latest draft for assessment declared the substance  ‘unsafe’, which can entail that the substance will become banned in body lotions in a near future.

“Now there are several reasons why cyclopentasiloxane should not be used in for example body lotions. In part scientists have suspicions that the substance is endocrine disrupting, and in part the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety does not consider the substance to be safe due to the risk of damage to the liver,” says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

A frequent cause of allergy

In the test 16 body lotions received the best possible marking and 24 was assessed to be average due to content of perfume, perfumed substances and plant extract which all are known allergens.

“Perfumed lotion is the second most frequent cause of perfume allergy. Consequently, the consumers should be particularly aware of these. We recommend that they choose an unscented and eco-labeled body lotion to avoid the unwanted chemicals,” says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby.

The content of chemicals is particularly critical in body lotions because body lotion is a product that stays on the skin for many hours.

The rule of thumb is that the longer a product stays on the skin, the more frequent you use it and the larger area of the body you use it on, the more you will be exposed to unwanted chemicals.