What is INCI?

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INCI names (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) are systematic names internationally recognized to identify cosmetic ingredients.  They are developed by the International Nomenclature Committee (INC) and published in the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook.  

Oversight for the INCI program is provided by the Personal Care Products Council as part of its mission to support the identification of the composition of personal care products, and publication of this information in a worldwide reference, based on sound science.

The Personal Care Products Council is committed to working with national governments, trade associations, and other organizations to ensure that the Dictionary provides the world community with accurate, transparent, and harmonized nomenclature.

The widespread use and international recognition of INCI names can be attributed to the use of uniform, science-based ingredient names that minimize the language barriers that often hinder consumer understanding and international trade. The concept of uniform labeling names has received widespread support from raw material and finished product manufacturers, the scientific and medical community, and regulatory bodies in the United States and elsewhere. A key element of this acceptance is the establishment of a single ingredient labeling name for each material that promotes a common understanding throughout the world.

The Council is works closely with its international sister trade associations, and with other organizations around the world to ensure that rules for harmonization of INCI labeling names are developed to accommodate differing approaches in national laws and regulations. Harmonization is essential to the free movement of goods on a global basis. There are many benefits to a uniform system of labeling names for cosmetic ingredients, including the transparency provided to consumers as ingredients are identified by a single labeling name regardless of the national origin of the product. In addition, dermatologists and others in the medical community are ensured an orderly dissemination of scientific information, which helps to identify agents responsible for adverse reactions.

Furthermore, scientists are ensured that information from scientific and other technical publications will be referenced by a uniform name and that multiple names for the same material will not lead to confusion, misidentification, or the loss of essential information.

Finally, the cosmetic industry is able to track the safety and the regulatory status of ingredients efficiently on a global basis, enhancing its ability to market safe products in compliance with various national regulations.