SCCS Rules on Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has issued its opinion concerning alkyl (C16, C18, C22) trimethylammonium chloride for other uses than as a preservative: that alkyl trimethylammonium chloride is safe as a non-preservative when incorporated at the recommended use levels.

Although cetrimonium chloride, steartrimonium chloride and behentrimonium chloride can cause irritation, especially in combination, the SCCS found that they do not pose risk to human health in the right concentrations. And although behentrimonium chloride, steartrimonium chloride and cetrimonium chloride have antiseptic properties, they can also serve as skin conditioning agents or emulsifiers.

Cetrimonium chloride (C16) and steartrimonium chloride (C18) can be formulated in: rinse-off hair care products ≤ 2.5% and leave-on hair care products ≤ 1.0%. In addition, behentrimonium chloride (C22) can be formulated in rinse-off hair care products ≤ 5.0% and in leave-on hair care and facial cream ≤ 3.0%. In skin care, the sum of cetrimonium chloride and steartrimonium chloride in leave-on facial cream products must be ≤ 0.5%. For the full opinion, visit

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