Safety assessment of a novel active ingredient, acetyl aspartic acid, according to the EU Cosmetics Regulation and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety guidelines

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2015 Oct;37 Suppl 1:21-7. doi: 10.1111/ics.12257.


Objective: Acetyl aspartic acid (A-A-A) was proposed as a new novel active ingredient for use in cosmetics. The safety of A-A-A was assessed by following an in-house-developed 'New Ingredient Testing Strategy', which was designed in accordance with the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) notes of guidance and the requirements of Annex I of the EU Cosmetics Regulation. The aim of the project was to determine whether A-A-A was safe for use in cosmetics and to determine a maximum permitted safe level in the formulations.

Methods: A literature review was conducted, consulting over 40 different information sources. This highlighted a number of gaps which required testing data. A-A-A was tested for phototoxicity according to OECD test guideline 432, skin irritation according to OECD test guideline 439 and eye irritation according to OECD test guideline 437. Dermal absorption of A-A-A was measured according to OECD test guideline 428 and was used to calculate the margin of safety (MoS). Finally, A-A-A was tested in a human repeat insult patch test (HRIPT) and a 14-day in-use tolerance study.

Results: A-A-A was non-phototoxic and was non-irritating to skin and eyes in in vitro testing. Dermal absorption was calculated to be 5%. The MoS for A-A-A was 351, at a level of 5%, for all cosmetic product types, indicating no systemic safety toxicity concern. A-A-A at 5% under occlusive patch on a panel of 50 adult volunteers induced no skin irritation or allergic reaction in the HRIPT study. Finally, repeated application of A-A-A to the periocular area, twice per day for 14 days, in 21 female volunteers, demonstrated that 1% A-A-A was well tolerated following dermatological and ophthalmological assessment in a cosmetic formulation.

Conclusion: A-A-A was assessed as safe by the cosmetic safety assessor for use in cosmetics at a level of 5% in all cosmetic product types, in line with the requirements of the EU Cosmetics Regulation and in accordance with the SCCS notes of guidance.

Keywords: EU Cosmetics Regulation; Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety notes of guidance; cell culture; cosmetic ingredient safety; safety testing; skin barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Testing Alternatives
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / adverse effects*
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cosmetics / toxicity*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Cosmetics
  • Aspartic Acid