Hand Gels: Borderline Products

Characteristics and Product Claims can cause perception of a product and indicate what the purpose of that product is. The Guidance on the applicable legislation for leave-on hand cleaners and hand disinfectants should be considered when identifying and portraying use of leave-on hand sanitisers alongside the Borderline Manual. There are also key regulations to take into consideration:

Recital 51 of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products provides that “the consumer should be protected from misleading claims concerning efficacy and other characteristics of cosmetic”.

Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products (governing “Product Claims”) further provides that “In the labelling, making available on the market and advertising of cosmetic products, text, names, trade marks, pictures and figurative or other signs shall not be used to imply that these products have characteristics or functions which they do not have”.

There are some key labelling elements that should not be used to marketing the hand sanitiser with the main function being cosmetic. This includes mention of antibacterial, antimicrobial and any attributes associated with this e.g. antiviral properties. Reference to the sanitising use of the product, decontamination or direct reference to COVID-19 or SARS would also not support a main cosmetic function.

There should also be no reference or allusions to COVD-19, or the ability for the product to have a medical use. Mention of percentage of alcohol in the product would also not support a main cosmetic function.

The pictures of graphical elements that should not be used include:

  • Virus (or specific viruses), bacteria, microbes
  • Logos suggesting medical connotation e.g. red cross
  • Shield to depict protection against microorganisms
  • STOP sign depicting preventing or controlling spread of diseases or infection
  • Logos related to medical settings, first aid etc.
  • CLP pictograms (hazard warnings)

Adapted from Guidance on the applicable legislation for leave-on hand cleaners and disinfectants (https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/43784)

If you need any further advice or guidance on hand sanitisers and how to market their main function. Please contact us on consultancy@jensongroup.com

James Hall
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