Sufficient checks in place for cosmetic products

We thank Mr Francis Cheng for his feedback (Make manufacturers of skincare products prove their claims; July 3).

Cosmetic products are generally low-risk consumer products intended for external application to skin, hair, nail and the oral cavity for cosmetic purposes only.

Similar to the European Union, the United States, Canada and Japan, Singapore adopts a light-touch regulatory approach which focuses on protecting consumer health and safety.

As cosmetic products are not intended for treating or preventing diseases or medical conditions, efficacy testing is not required.

Dealers of cosmetic products have to notify the Health Sciences Authority before placing products on the market to facilitate regulatory follow-up if safety concerns arise.

This is not a form of evaluation nor an approval of the product's safety, quality and efficacy.

Dealers are responsible for the safety of their products and must ensure that their products comply with legal requirements for labelling and use of restricted and prohibited ingredients.

Advertisements for cosmetic products should comply with the standards set by the Singapore authorities.

For claims such as " natural" or "organic", dealers could refer to internationally recognised guidelines, or standards such as ISO standards, as guidance for supporting such claims.

As general advice, consumers should exercise care and discretion in the choice of cosmetic products.

Cosmetic products with claims such as "natural", "organic", "contains no preservative" or "100 per cent herbal ingredients" may not necessarily be "better" or "safer", as some plants and herbs may cause allergies in some people.

Consumers should also be wary of cosmetic products with exaggerated claims (for example, offering a "quick fix"), or cosmetic products without proper labelling or ingredient listing.

Hui Foong Mei (Ms)

Director, Complementary Health Products Branch Health Products Regulation Group

Health Sciences Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2017, with the headline 'Sufficient checks in place for cosmetic products'. Print Edition | Subscribe