What Is It?
Farnesol is a colorless, oily liquid with a delicate sweet odor. In cosmetics and personal care products, Farnesol is used in the formulation of aftershave lotions, cleansing products, colognes, deodorants, eye lotions, face powders, foot powders, fragrances, hair care products, moisturizers, shaving products and skin care products.
Why Is It Used?
Farnesol functions as a Substances that impart an odor to a product..
Farnesol occurs naturally in the oils of citronella, cyclamen, lemongrass, rose, musk and balsam.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Farnesol as a Ingredients that impart a flavor or a taste to a product. for direct addition to food. The safety of Farnesol has been evaluated by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials Expert Panel (REXPAN). Based on this evaluation, an International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Standard has been established. The IFRA Standard restricts the use of Farnesol in fragrances because of potential sensitization.
Link to the IFRA Standards: http://www.ifraorg.org/en-us/standards_1
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) defers review of individual fragrance ingredients to the IFRA program unless the ingredient has significant uses other than as a fragrance. In this case, the ingredient may be assessed by both the CIR Expert Panel and REXPAN.
Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Farnesol: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr…
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) concluded that Farnesol does not present a safety concern at current levels of intake when used as a flavoring agent.
Link to the JECFA safety evaluation of Farnesol: http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jeceval/jec_848.htm
The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association Expert Panel reviewed the safety of Farnesol and determined that it was Generally Recognized as Safe for use as a flavoring substance. In Europe, Farnesol is included on the list of “allergenic” substances. The European Cosmetics Regulation requires manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products to indicate the presence of certain “allergenic” substances in the list of ingredients if they are present above certain levels in the product (see Annex III). The presence of Farnesol must be indicated in the list of ingredients when its concentration exceeds: 0.001% in leave-on the skin products 0.01% in products that are rinsed off the skin
Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/product_labelling_and_packaging/co0013_en.htm
More information about the safety of fragrances.
More Scientific Information
Farnesol, or 3,7,11-trimethyl-2,6,10-dodecatrien-1-ol, is a sesquiterpene Alcohols are a large class of important cosmetic ingredients but only ethanol needs to be denatured to prevent it from being redirected from cosmetic applications to alcoholic beverages.. It has a mildly sweet odor, and is used in perfumery to emphasize the odors of sweet floral accords.
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration
Food Ingredients and Packaging: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/default.htm
Food Contact Substances: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/PackagingFCS/default.htm
Substances 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.): http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/default.htm
Link to the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials: http://www.rifm.org
Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm
EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/