Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety
The safety of quaternium-15 has been assessed several times by the Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety (Expert Panel). In its 2017 review, the Expert Panel acknowledged that quaternium-15 can release formaldehyde,a skin sensitizer, in cosmetic formulations, but concluded that the ingredient is safe in the present practices of use and concentration (i.e., up to 0.2%).
The Expert Panel evaluated data on the absorption of quaternium-15 through the skin, concluding, in a laboratory study, that it did not cause developmental effects when applied dermally and is not genotoxic or a dermal irritant at concentrations above 5%. However, various studies completed in North America have indicated an increase in sensitization to quaternium-15 among patients. Due to concerns about potential skin sensitization to quaternium-15, the Expert Panel limits its use in cosmetics and personal care products to up to 0.2%.