What do we know about our skincare products?


Are we aware of the active ingredients of our skin care products used on a daily basis? The skin creams and lotions may be harmful depending on the concentration of certain ingredients and the duration they remain in contact with the skin. A research team led by Dr Kang Lifeng, from Department of pharmacy, National University of Singapore published a book compiling the list of 520 compounds contained in 257 skincare products that are available in Singapore with details on the properties and affects of a few on skin applications. The book is titled “Handbook of Cosmeceutical Excipients and Their Safeties”.

A small portion of the listed compounds has been studied by the team for their safety profiles on skin applications. 87 of the 520 listed compounds were found to be potentially carcinogenic with alpha hydroxy acid, butylated hydroxyanisole, chlorhexidine digluconate, glycolic acid and isopropylparaben being popular ones. The team has also identified fragrances as skin irritants with amyl cinnamal, citral, eugenol, farnesol and geraniol as the top five in the list.

The team is extending their research to build a repository for all the identified 520 compounds and test them on human skin samples in the laboratory. This would help to understand harmful effects of these active ingredients in the skin care products and determine the ones that are safe and skin friendly.

Regulations on the marketing of skin care products in Singapore are currently limited in Singapore hence this study would help the authorities like The Singapore Health Sciences Authority to bring strict regulation on the marketing of the skin care products for the welfare of people.


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