What Is It?

Cholesterol is a naturally waxy fat-like substance. In cosmetics and personal care products, Cholesterol is used in the formulation of eye and face makeup, shaving preparations, and skin and hair care products.

Why Is It Used?

Cholesterol helps prevent the separation of the oil and liquid components in cosmetics and personal care products. It is also a skin-conditioning agent and viscosity increasing agent in cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Cholesterol is found in all tissues of the animal body and has also been isolated from plants. It is synthesized by the body but is also obtained from dietary sources. Cholesterol is required to build and maintain cell membranes and is an important building block for hormones and vitamins.

Safety Information

The safety of Cholesterol has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Cholesterol was safe as presently used in cosmetic products. In 2004, as part of the scheduled re-review of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on this ingredient and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review: Cholesterol is one of the most widely studied naturally occurring organic compounds. Due to the variety and abundance of literature on Cholesterol, the CIR review was, for the most part, limited to current published literature from 1978 to the present. The normal metabolism and excretion of Cholesterol is well documented in man and animals. Cholesterol is not a significant dermal or ocular irritant.

Cholesterol does not appear to have any genotoxic activity in bacterial or mammalian cells in vitro mutagenic and transformation assays. High doses of Cholesterol were teratogenic in tests. Cholesterol is not a promoter, cocarcinogen, or carcinogen. Clinical studies to evaluate the safety of topically applied Cholesterol were conducted with products formulated with the ingredient. The Cholesterol-containing products were minimal to mild primary and cumulative skin irritants but not sensitizers or photosensitizers.

Cholesterol may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union. Ingredients of animal origin must comply with European Union animal by-products regulations.

EU Cosmetic Regulation

More Scientific Information

Cholesterol is a monounsaturated secondary alcohol of the cyclopentenophenanthrene system. Excess Cholesterol, insufficient Cholesterol, and defects in Cholesterol metabolism have all been associated with various pathological conditions. In cosmetic products, Cholesterol is used as an emulsion stabilizer. Emulsion stabilizers are cosmetic ingredients that assist in the formation and the stabilization of emulsions.Emulsifiers are required for the formation of emulsions, but their activity is materially enhanced whenever an emulsion stabilizer is included in the system. Emulsion stabilizers do not act as primary emulsifiers but prevent or reduce the coalescence of emulsified droplets by modifying the continuous or the disperse phase of the emulsion. This stabilization may result from electrical repulsion, from changes in viscosity, or from film formation on the droplet surface.