What Is It?
Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Carbonate, Potassium Carbonate and Zinc Carbonate are all salts of carbonic acid. All of these ingredients are white powders. These carbonate salts are used in bath products, makeup products, personal cleanliness products, shaving products, oral care products and skin and hair care products.
Why Is It Used?
The following functions have been reported for these carbonate salts.
- Ingredients used for abrading, smoothing or polishing, such as emery or pumice. – Calcium Carbonate
- Ingredients that have the capacity to absorb or soak up liquids. – Magnesium Carbonate
- Ingredients that minimize the change in the pH of a solution when an acid or a base is added to the solution. – Calcium Carbonate
- Non-reactive, solid ingredients that are used to dilute other solids, or to increase the volume of a product. – Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Carbonate
- Substances that reduce the clear or transparent appearance of cosmetic products. Some opacifying agents are used in skin make-up for hiding blemishes. – Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Carbonate, Zinc Carbonate
- Ingredients that polish the teeth, reduce oral odor, or otherwise cleanse or deodorize the teeth and mouth. – Calcium Carbonate
- Ingredients that are used to control the pH of cosmetic products. – Magnesium Carbonate, Potassium Cabonate
- An ingredient that temporarily protects injured or exposed skin from harmful or annoying stimuli, and that may provide relief to such skin. In the United States, skin protectants are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients. – Zinc Carbonate
Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Cabonate, Potassium Carbonate and Zinc Carbonate are inorganic salts of carbonic acid. Calcium Carbonate, also called calcite, is the main component of limestone. Magnesium Carbonate, also called magnesite, is the main component of chalk used as a drying agent for hands in rock climbing, gymnastics and weight lifting. Potassium Carbonate is also called potash. Zinc Carbonate is sometimes referred to as zinc spar or smithsonite.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Carbonate and Potassium Carbonate on its list of direct food substances affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe (“GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.). Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Carbonate are FDA approved as active ingredients in Over-the-Counter (OTC) antacid drug products. Zinc Carbonate is approved for use in OTC skin protectant drug products at concentrations of 0.2 to 2%. Calcium Cabonate is an FDA approved color additive for use in drugs. The The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) was established in 1976 as an independent safety review program for cosmetic ingredients. The CIR Expert Panel consists of independent experts in dermatology, toxicology, pharmacolgy and veterinary medicine. The CIR includes participation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America. (CIR) Expert Panel has deferred evaluation of these ingredients because the safety has been assessed by FDA. This deferral of review is according to the provisions of the CIR Procedures.
Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Calcium Carbonate
Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Magnesium Carbonate
Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Potassium Carbonate
Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Zinc Carbonate
Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Carbonate, Potassium Carbonate and Zinc Cabonate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the Under the general provisions of the cosmetics regulation of the EU, ingredients appearing on the following function-specific annexes must comply with the listed restrictions and/or specifications: colorants (Annex IV), preservatives (Annex V), UV filters (Annex VI) and other ingredients with specific concentration limits and/or other restrictions (Annex III). Ingredients specifically prohibited from use in cosmetic products are listed in Annex II. Other ingredients listed in the EU cosmetic ingredient database (CosIng) may be used without restrictions..
More Scientific Information
A carbonate is a salt of carbonic acid. The carbonate anion consits of one carbon atom and three oxygen atoms, and carries a negative two charge. Sodium and Potassium Carbonates are soluble in water. Other carbonate salts are not soluble in water.
Find out more about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration