Inci identification

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Acronym for "International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients; International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients

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Since the beginning of 1998, an international declaration guideline for the declaration of ingredients in cosmetics was introduced in the EU. The designations listed there usually differ from the chemical names.

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  • Ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration. This applies to all ingredients that make up more than 1% of the content.
  • Ingredients with < 1% need not be listed.
  • Dyestuffs are listed at the end of the list without any particular order.
  • In order to maintain recipe secrecy, special confidentiality can be requested for individual ingredients. These are coded by a seven-digit number sequence.

General information
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This label is medically relevant for allergy sufferers. Products can be evaluated for potentially questionable ingredients before purchase. The nomenclature can be traced back to the American Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association ( CTFA) which introduced uniform designations for cosmetic ingredients in the early eighties.

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The declaration of cosmetic ingredients according to the uniform INCI nomenclature has been a legal requirement in the European Union since 1997 (e.g. in Germany according to § 5a, para. 4 KosmetikV).

The ingredients listed on a cosmetic product are arranged in descending order of quantity. The first-mentioned substance is present in the largest quantity.

Important: The INCI names generally do not correspond to the names of the chemical compounds.

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  1. De Groot AC et al (1997) Conversion of common names of cosmetic allergens to the INCI nomenclature. Contact Dermatitis 37: 145-150


Last updated on: 29.10.2020