How cosmetic products are regulated by HSA

Cosmetic products, Cosmetic products

What are cosmetic products?

Cosmetic products are substances or preparations that are intended for use on various external parts of the human body such as skin, hair, nails, lips, around the eyes, teeth and mouth, as well as external genital organs. They are used to clean, perfume, change the appearance, correct body odours, protect or keep these parts of our bodies in good condition.

They include:

Product types Examples
Items we find in our bathroom cabinets Toothpastes, bath products, shower gels, shampoos, conditioners and shaving creams
Products on our dressers Make-up items, skin whitening products, anti-wrinkle creams and perfumes or fragrances
Sunbathing lotions Sunscreen lotions or spray, suntan lotions
Hair dressing products Hair dyes, hair perming or straightening lotions

How are cosmetic products regulated in Singapore?

Cosmetic products in Singapore are regulated under the Health Products (Cosmetic Products - ASEAN Cosmetic Directive) Regulations, which is a Subsidiary Legislation of the Health Products Act. Dealers of cosmetic products have to ensure that their products comply with the requirements stipulated in the Regulations and are directly responsible for the safety of their products.

The ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD) is part of an ASEAN-wide initiative that aims to harmonise standards and requirements for cosmetic products across ASEAN in line with international guidelines.

HSA requires all cosmetic firms to comply with the following:

  • Product Notification - Inform HSA of the products they intend to sell before making them available for sale by submitting a cosmetic product notification. This is to facilitate prompt action by HSA if there are any product safety concerns, and does not mean that these products are approved by HSA.
  • Prohibited Substances - Ensure that their products do not contain any prohibited substances, and restricted ingredients are used within stipulated conditions, and that only permitted colouring agents, preservatives and ultraviolet filters are used.
  • Product Label - Label their products clearly with key information in English. This includes ingredients, country of manufacture, batch number, manufacturing date or expiry date (if the product has a shelf life of less than 30 months) as well as the name and address in Singapore of the company responsible for placing the product in the market. Precautionary health warnings must also be included, if any.
  • Adverse Events Reporting - Report all serious adverse events to HSA.
  • Product Withdrawal - Stop selling a product or withdrawing it from the market if it is suspected to pose a health risk.

There is a post-market surveillance programme to monitor the safety of cosmetic products.

This includes:

  • Risk-based surveillance - Sampling and testing of products found in the market.
  • Adverse reaction monitoring - Draws on HSA’s network of local healthcare professionals and international regulatory partners to pick up signals of any health products that may be causing adverse reactions.

HSA will take the necessary actions should there be any safety concerns detected with cosmetic products. Companies will have to remove the unsafe products from the market and members of the public will also be alerted on harmful products.

If you suspect that the product you are using is causing side effects, please consult a medical professional and bring along the product.