What Is It?

Triclocarban, also referred to as TCC, is an antimicrobial ingredient that has been used in the formulation of bath products, cleansing products, and powders.

Why Is It Used?

Triclocarban, when used as a preservative, prevents or retards bacterial growth, and thus protects cosmetics and personal care products from spoilage and degradation. It also reduces or eliminates unpleasant odor and protects against the formation of such odors on the skin.

Get more information about how preservatives protect cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Triclocarban is a limited spectrum antibacterial agent, meaning it is not effective against all microbes. There is a specific set of organisms for which Triclocarban effectively prevents or limits growth. It disables the activity of the microbial enzyme called ENR (enoyl-acyl carrier-protein reductase), which humans do not have. This enzyme is vital to building cell membranes of many bacteria and fungi.

Safety Information

On September 6, 2016, the FDA issued a final rule on the ‘Safety and Effectiveness of Consumer Antiseptics; Topical Antimicrobial Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use,’ concluding that consumer OTC antiseptic products intended for use with water (including antibacterial soaps, hand washes, and body washes) that contain any of 19 specific active ingredients (including triclocarban) can no longer be marketed. The FDA concluded that manufacturers had not adequately demonstrated products containing these ingredients are both safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections. Prior to the FDA ruling, some manufacturers had already started removing these ingredients from their products.

The European Commission permits triclocarban use as a preservative in cosmetics at a maximum concentration of 0.2% (see Annex V). Triclocarban is also permitted for use in rinse-off cosmetic products at a maximum concentration of 1.5% for non-preservative purposes (see Annex III).


The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) concluded in 2005 that the use of Triclocarban for non-preservative use in cosmetic rinse-off hand and body care products up to a maximum concentration of 1.5% does not pose a risk to the health of consumers.