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EU released SCCS opinion on safety of alpha-arbutin and beta-arbutin in cosmetic products

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On March 25, 2022, SCCS issued a draft SCCS/1642/22 on Alpha-Arbutin and Beta-Arbutin, which concluded that Without data on the release of hydroquinone and its eventual fate, a safe concentration of any arbutin in cosmetic products cannot be determined.

The deadline for public comments is May 27, 2022.

Arbutin can effectively inhibit the activity of tyrosinase. Through its direct binding with tyrosinase, it competes for the binding site of dopa and blocks the synthesis of dopa and dopaquinone, thereby interfering with melanocytes and inhibiting the production of melanin. generate. At the same time, it also has the function of diluting the formed melanin and reducing skin pigmentation, and is widely used in whitening products. However, arbutin may be converted into hydroquinone under the conditions of low pH, high temperature, ultraviolet irradiation, or under the action of human skin microorganisms or glucosidase, resulting in potential risks of sensitization, genotoxicity or carcinogenesis. Therefore, its safety has attracted the attention of the media and consumers.

Based on the difference in chemical structure, arbutin can be divided into α-arbutin, β-arbutin and deoxyarbutin. Alpha-Arbutin, English name Alpha-Arbutin, CAS No. 84380-018. β-Arbutin, English name Beta-Arbutin, CAS No. 497-76-7. β-Arbutin is cheap and widely used in cosmetics; α-Arbutin and DeoxyArbutin are new whitening ingredients, the whitening effect is better than that of β-Arbutin, but it is less used than β-Arbutin . Deoxyarbutin, namely tetrahydropyranyloxyphenol, English name Deoxyarbutin, CAS number 53936-56-4, has been banned in the European Union since July 26, 2021.

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Xuechen Wang

Regulatory Manager at Chemycal

Antwerp, Belgium

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