- This ingredient’s score is higher if used in products that are inhalable (e.g., sprays, powders) because of respiratory concerns.
- Products with this ingredient are allowed for use in EWG VERIFIED but must meet use restrictions and warnings based on EWG review of company data.
- Products with the EWG VERIFIED mark have met use restrictions and warnings based on EWG review of company data.
- This ingredient’s score is lower when used as a saponification agent (e.g., soaps and cleansers)
Other ConcernsUse restrictions (high), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (moderate), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs) (low), and Occupational hazards (high)
Restricted: EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain this ingredient without adequate substantiation
Potassium Hydroxide is a caustic inorganic base.
See how this product scores for common concerns.
LOWAllergies & Immunotoxicity
LOWDevelopmental and Reproductive Toxicity
- DATA SOURCES
Products with this Ingredient
|facial cleanser||115 products|
|facial moisturizer/treatment||92 products|
|body wash/cleanser||49 products|
|serums & essences||47 products|
|recreational sunscreen||31 products|
|liquid hand soap||24 products|
|shaving cream (men's)||24 products|
|shaving cream||22 products|
|hair spray||18 products|
|around-eye cream||15 products|
|hand cream||14 products|
|makeup remover||11 products|
|daily use with SPF||11 products|
|styling gel/lotion||9 products|
|hair styling aide||9 products|
|foot moisturizer||9 products|
|diaper cream||8 products|
|hair treatment/serum||6 products|
|baby soap||6 products|
|brow liner||6 products|
|cuticle treatment||5 products|
|hair color and bleaching||5 products|
|nail treatment||5 products|
|baby sunscreen||3 products|
|baby shampoo||3 products|
|body firming lotion||3 products|
|sunless tanning||3 products|
|after shave||3 products|
|body oil||2 products|
|baby lotion||2 products|
|lip balm||2 products|
|eye liner||2 products|
|makeup primer||2 products|
|foot cleansing||2 products|
|bath oil/salts/soak||2 products|
|muscle/joint soreness||2 products|
|nail polish||2 products|
|foot odor control||1 products|
|body spray||1 products|
|lip gloss||1 products|
|damaged skin treatment||1 products|
|baby toothpaste||1 products|
|other men's products||1 products|
|setting powder/spray||1 products|
|after sun product||1 products|
|bubble bath||1 products|
|tooth whitening||1 products|
|bar soap||1 products|
|Violation of government restrictions - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - any||Open scientific literature|
|Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Avoid or minimize skin exposure: recommendation from industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR)||Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments|
|Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - any||CosIng|
|Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Safe for use in cosmetics with some qualifications||Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments|
|Allowed workplace exposures restricted to low doses||CPS&Q - Classification & Labelling|
|Single case study detailing occupational hazards||National Library of Medicine HazMap|
Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
|Classified as medium human health priority||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
|Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
|Classified as toxic or harmful||Open scientific literature|
Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)
|Limited evidence of any irritation||Open scientific literature|
|any irritation - weight of evidence unknown/unassessed||Open scientific literature|
|Wildlife and environmental toxicity||Open scientific literature|
|Not suspected to be an environmental toxin||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
|Occupational hazards related to handling||CPS&Q - Classification & Labelling|
Persistence and bioaccumulation
|Not suspected to be bioaccumulative||Environment Canada Domestic Substance List|
|Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - Avoid or minimize skin exposure: recommendation from industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR)||Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments|
|2405 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemical||NLM PubMed|
Multiple, additive exposure sources
|Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in food||FDA Everything Added to Food|
|Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in food||FDA Food Additive Status|
- Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
- CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
- European Commission. 2013. Cosing, the European Commission database with information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Accessed on March 1, 2013 at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/ .
- CPS&Q (Consumer Products Safety & Quality) formely known as ECB (European Chemicals Bureau). 2008. Classification and Labelling: Chemicals: Annex VI of Directive 67/548/EEC through the 31st ATP.
- NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2006. HazMap — Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents.
- EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.
- NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
- FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2008. EAFUS [Everything Added to Food]: A Food Additive Database. FDA Office of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
- FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2006. Food Additive Status List. Downloaded from http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Edms/opa-appa.html, Oct 16, 2006.
Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.
Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES
The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED® mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.
The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.