Whitening products regulatory status in China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan via Chemlinked

16 August 2016

 2 Aug 2016


China Taiwan Japan Korea
Classification Special Use Cosmetics General Cosmetics

(except products containing Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate)

Quasi Drugs Functional Cosmetics
Obligation Registration Products containing Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate: registration Registration Registration
Permitted ingredients No list 13 No official list 9



Whitening products with active whitening ingredients were classified as special use cosmetics since December 2013, which require registration with CFDA. Certain categories of whitening products are defined under Chinese regulations as “products which make people look white by physical covering”. Although they are regulated as special-use cosmetics these whitening products (in contrast to whitening products which alter the actual appearance of the skin) are subject to more relaxed registration requirements and shorter duration.

CFDA hasn’t defined any permitted or prohibited whitening ingredients. For some common whitening ingredients, such as Arbutin, there is also no limit in the Safety and Technical Standards for Cosmetics. CFDA reviews the registration only based on the submitted active whitening agents list and concentrations in the formula. The expert panel will determine the safety and efficacy of the ingredient.


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