Methylisothiazolinone (MI) in Cosmetic Products

Safety Notice

Preservatives are important in cosmetics as they protect consumers from harmful pathogens that would otherwise invade the cosmetic works products people use on a daily basis. Without preservatives, the majority of cosmetics would have a very short shelf life and would, for the most part, have to be stored in a fridge.

While the vast majority of people are not sensitive (allergic) to Methylisothiazolinone (MI), an approved preservative for use in cosmetics, the continued use of this preservative can result in sensitivity in a small percentage of the population. Indications are that the level of sensitivity to MI is increasing. Because of this, European regulations have been, and are currently being, drafted aimed at reducing the risk from MI and the incidence of skin sensitivity.

Changes in European Regulations

(1) Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) / Methylisothiazolinone (MI) Mixture

MI often forms part of a mixture with a similar substance, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI), which is used as a preservative in cosmetics. The mixture is deemed not to pose a risk to the health of the consumer when used as a preservative up to a maximum concentration of 0.0015% in rinse-off cosmetic products.

With effect from 16 July 2015:

  • The European Commission has banned the mixture of MCI/MI from leave-on cosmetic products that are placed on the EU market;
  • Only cosmetic products containing the restricted levels of 0.0015% MCI/MI mixture in rinse -off products will be allowed to be placed on the market.


With effect from 16 April 2016:

  • Only cosmetic products containing the restricted levels of 0.0015% MCI/MI mixture in rinse- off products will be allowed on the market.


For updated and full news in (MCI/MI) and parabens, click here

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