Certain groups of cosmetic ingredients are sometimes critically discussed. COSMILE conveys facts from a scientific point of view.

The editorial staff of COSMILE takes up these topics, not in order to evaluate, but to make a contribution to consumer education and to provide further basic information from a scientific perspective:

Environmental Compatibility of Cosmetic Products

Spotlight: Many cosmetic products are washed off with water either directly, such as shampoo and shower gel, or after a while, such as hair gel and sun lotion. The cosmetic ingredients of these products can end up in the wastewater. Most of these substances are removed in the sewage treatment plants. However, some are not completely filtered out or can also get directly into water - such as substances from a sun milk.

Contact allergy (allergic contact dermatitis)

General: An allergy is in a way a malfunction of the immune system through which antibodies or defence cells act against actually harmless foreign substances. There are different forms of allergies. They all have in common that the immune system must first “learn” the allergic reaction. This process is referred to as sensitisation phase. It goes normally unnoticed. Only after a new contact with the allergen, the allergic reaction develops. Consequently, there are no innate antibodies.

Endocrine disruptors

Spotlight: Some cosmetic products can contain substances which have a hormonal activity. These substances must be distinguished from endocrine disruptors.


Spotlight: “Silicone” is a collective term for a group of substances which are critically discussed with a view to their effect on skin and hair and their impact on waters.


Spotlight: Fragrances and fragrance mixtures in cosmetic products, often referred to as perfume, are critically debated because they can cause allergies.

Mineral oils

Spotlight: Ingredients of cosmetic products which are based on mineral oil are criticised with a view to so-called saturated hydrocarbons (“MOSH”) and aromatic hydrocarbon compounds (“MOAH”).

Parabens (preservatives)

Spotlight: Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetic products to prevent the propagation of bacteria and fungi (germs) – in particular if the products contain water. Their use in cosmetic products was associated during the past years with undesirable effects on health.


Spotlight: In the discussion about “microplastics“ a distinction must be made between solid and dissolved plastics. The critical attitude towards microplastics concerns solid plastic particles. Dissolved polymers need to be distinguished from them and must be considered separately.