There’s actually no official definition for this term. Usually, "dermatologically tested" suggests a product has been tested and proven safe for human skin. In reality, each company making this claim defines its own methods for testing. For Essity it means the products or the product’s raw materials have passed dermal safety studies in human subjects and are safe for close contact with the skin.
You’re not alone there. No one really seems to agree on what “hypoallergenic” means. When used to promote cosmetics or hygiene products, it usually suggests that the product causes fewer allergic reactions than you would expect from common products for the same use. But there’s no consensus on how products should be tested, or any standard definition of what the term means.
We occasionally use the term “hypoallergenic” for products that have been specifically designed to minimize the risk of triggering allergic reactions. In particular, these products do not contain perfumes, or any substances that could knowingly cause skin sensitization.
Apart from that, we pay attention for all our products to strictly limit components which could cause allergies, and our complaint statistics prove our efforts right.
Because of the nature of allergies, no one can guarantee that a product will never lead to an allergic reaction. All of us react individually and often even differently during the course of one’s life.
But at Essity, we’ve created products that are designed to be gentle on the skin. It starts with our suppliers who are required by us to not include any substances that are known to be allergens. Where relevant, substances that are used in the formulation of our products are then assessed, by product safety specialists, for potential to be allergens. Our complaint statistics confirm that any skin-related reactions to our products are extremely rare with less than one clinical complaint per hundred million sold products.
In general, no. We neither perform sensitization tests on humans nor on animals – that is, tests that look for allergic responses.
But we do carry out skin irritation tests on humans, which check for temporary redness, dryness, itching when in direct contact with a substance. Our absorbent hygiene products (that’s your towel, liner or period panty) follow strict procedures to ensure that they are safe and gentle on your skin.
Our Essity Global Supplier Standard prohibits the use of any substances recognized as allergens, except where the products contain perfumes, in which case they are clearly labeled. However, these perfumes are thoroughly assessed to make sure they’re safe for their intended use.
Our dedicated Product Safety team assesses every material included in our products to make sure it fulfills all the legal requirements and is safe for use as intended. These assessments include analyses of chemical residues and toxicological tests including tests for skin irritation.
All skin irritation tests and studies are approved by an independent ethical committee, and medically supervised by a clinician. While we cannot guarantee that our products won’t cause skin irritation, we do everything we can to reduce the risk as much as possible.
All of us in the product safety team use Essity products at home and trust them with our own families.
When it comes to chemicals that can interfere with the body’s hormones, we are – again – very strict. We demand transparency from our suppliers about the potential presence of any such chemicals. We screen for traces of selected substances and make sure they are either not detectable or they are so minimal that they are far below any concerning amount.
Per today, science does not know everything about chemicals with effect on hormones. Therefore, we remain diligent and closely follow new evidence and update our product safety processes accordingly.
We don’t use chemicals in concentrations that could be harmful. Many chemicals of concern are unavoidably present in natural or synthetic materials in tiny amounts – from parts per million (ppm) to parts per billion (ppb) or parts per trillion (ppt). For comparison: one ppt is like one second in 32.000 years.
For our Product Safety team to give a material the thumbs up, it must first pass our diligent product safety assessment, to ensure that any potential trace chemicals are not present in concentrations that are higher than what is considered safe based on the most updated scientific data.
It’s a common misconception that “organic” equals good and safe, while “synthetic” equals bad and toxic. The truth is, it’s not really possible to make such a distinction. Mixtures of chemicals derived from nature can be highly toxic at low doses – for example poisonous mushrooms or raw kidney beans.
On the other hand, synthetic Vitamin C does not in any way differ from Vitamin C which has been purified from an orange. It tastes the same and it has exactly the same effect when ingested.
What matters when it comes to assessing the safety of a product is what chemicals it contains, and at which amounts – not whether those chemicals were harvested from nature or prepared in a lab.
Absolutely. Sustainability is an essential priority for each of our brands here at Essity. We’re committed to developing products and services that improve human well-being while also lowering our environmental footprint. Using recycled materials in our products is a great way to do that. For example, we use more than 40% recycled fibers in our global tissue production.
At Essity, we are also continually finding new ways to get “more from less” with thinner or compressed products that function even better while using less material and producing less waste.
Ultimately, it’s our ambition to contribute to a circular society. That means exploring new designs, using renewable and recycled materials and innovating ways to make our products and packaging more reusable and recyclable.
No materials in Essity hygiene products are bleached using chlorine gas (elemental chlorine). Elemental chlorine is probably what you’ve heard bad things about.
The bleaching methods we accept (for our cellulose pulp and viscose fibers) are the ECF (elemental chlorine free) method and TCF (totally chlorine free) method, considered by the European Industrial Emissions Directive to be the best available techniques. Both methods have a low environmental impact, as they are based on modern and efficient processes, and use effective wastewater treatment. Additionally, both are also safe with regard to any traces of unwanted chemicals.
We’re concerned about that too and consequently, we only use plastics in our products and packaging where it is necessary for the purpose of guaranteeing that the products are not only clean but also safe to use and fulfill the hygienic purpose for which they have been manufactured. Additionally, we’re continually finding ways to use less and less material in our products, including plastics, while also increasing our use of renewable or recycled plastics. One example of this is our optimized use of stretch film, which has allowed us to reduce the usage of plastics at our European tissue sites.
Essity is an active member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's plastics initiative “New Plastic Economy.” Our goal is to achieve 100% recyclability for all our packaging, and we’ve already committed to the ambitious target of manufacturing 85% of our packaging from renewable or recycled material by 2025.
Our plastic bottles are made out of polyethylene, in several different grades (both bottles, pump, valve and cap). Bisphenol A is prohibited by the Essity Global Supplier Standard from being intentionally added to any of our raw materials, and we don’t add it during the production process. So, no – Bisphenol A is not something you need to worry about in our bottles.
There’s no need to worry about Bisphenol A in our products. Our Global Supplier Standard explicitly says that this chemical may not be intentionally added to any of our raw materials. It’s also not used in the production process of our absorbent hygiene products (that’s your towel, liner or period panty).
Thanks to an established program of chemical analysis of raw materials for our incontinence, baby and feminine absorbent products, we can confidently state that potential traces, when detectable, are very low – well below any safety and regulatory limits.
Here at Essity, we never intentionally add dangerous substances to our products, and of course that includes formaldehyde since making our products safe to use is an absolute must for us. Trace levels are sometimes found in the raw materials or the process chemicals we use, but when detected, these are barely over the detection limit, so there’s no need to be concerned.
Only approved ingredients are allowed in our products, and we have strict processes in place to ensure our products are safe to use for our millions of customers. We’ve chosen all the ingredients with great care, and each of our Essity intimate washes has been tested under gynecological control. We’re absolutely confident they are safe for their intended use.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that can interfere with your normal hormonal functions and are broadly classified as endocrine disruptors.
At Essity, we never intentionally add phthalates to our absorbent hygiene products (that’s your towel, liner or period panty). But, as with other undesirable chemicals, we do sometimes find trace levels in the raw materials we use. When this happens, the levels are so tiny that they are barely detectable – well below levels that are considered safe.
No, you shouldn’t be worried. None of the materials that go into Essity products are bleached with chlorine gas (elemental chlorine) – the method of bleaching that produces dioxins.
The detection limits of the chemical analysis we conduct on Essity absorbent hygiene products (that’s your towel, liner or period panty) are extremely low, and the levels of dioxins we detect are either below or just above these limits – similar to what can be found naturally in the environment, and well below any regulatory limits.
Bottom line? The safety of our products is never compromised.
There are no added chemicals in any Essity products that are harmful to users or that can even cause cancer. It is important to understand that chemicals are all around us in nature and consequently some can be found in trace amounts in our materials and products. But these trace amounts are miniscule and absolutely safe.
Our Global Supplier Standard, which sets the standards our suppliers must comply with, very clearly prohibits the intentional use of known carcinogenic (= being able to cause cancer) and mutagenic chemicals (= being able to cause mutations) in the raw materials that go into our products. We also don’t use them in our production processes.
What you can be 100% sure of is that our products don’t contain carcinogens in amounts that are anywhere near dangerous.
Some feminine pads and liners do. We carefully select and assess the perfumes in these products to make sure they’re safe for their intended use. Whenever perfume is present, we say so clearly on our labelling, with terms like “contains perfume” or “scented."
Well, absorbent hygiene products (that’s your towel, liner or period panty) don’t actually require preservation, so, no, not for that purpose.
Only when a product shall have specific properties, such as preventing odor, or some antimicrobial effect, then we intentionally add substances with a biocidal effect for that purpose. You will recognize those products from their labeling.
Some of the additives and manufacturing chemicals do contain preservatives, and as a result, traces are sometimes detectable in the products. But as with other trace elements, these amounts are extremely small, and not anything to worry about.
Preserving cosmetic products is essential to ensure their safe use, as otherwise they are vulnerable to attack by micro-organisms. So, yes, we do use preservatives in some of our cosmetic products – both to maintain product integrity and to protect you, the consumer.
The preservatives we use in Essity products are all carefully assessed and chosen to ensure they are safe for your health and the environment. All the preservatives we use are of course also legally compliant. Beyond legal compliance, we also restrict several preservatives from use in our cosmetics, such as formaldehyde and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MIT).
It’s good to keep in mind that not all types of parabens are bad. Methylparaben and ethylparaben are both safe and approved as preservatives for cosmetic products. When present in Essity products, you’ll find them mentioned in the ingredient lists on the back of the product package.
Just like with parabens, not all azo dyes are bad. Some azo dyes can degrade and release carcinogenic aromatic amines. Following the EU’s REACH chemical legislation (Annex XVII), we don’t allow any of these potentially carcinogenic azo dyes to be used in our products.
We sometimes use other, non-dangerous azo dyes for specific applications, but only after rigorous assessment and approval by our product safety team.
Yes, some of our Essity cosmetics do contain colorants. This is always clearly indicated in the ingredients list. We always choose colorants carefully and assess them to ensure they’re safe for your health and the environment.
We sometimes use optical brighteners for glues used on specific materials like elastics to detect the correct positioning of components during assembly of the product. These glues are always subject to product safety approval.
Traces of optical brighteners might be introduced via recycled fibers used in tissue products. Essity is not intentionally using optical brighteners in its tissue manufacturing process, with very few technical exceptions, where only food contact-approved optical brighteners are used.
At Essity we’re all about care – for people, and for the planet. That includes animals.
We don’t support animal testing, and we´re committed to reducing it to the absolute minimum. We never test our products on animals, unless we are absolutely required to by law.
Please see also Essity´s position on animal testing.
No substances classified as allergens (with H317 labelling), or generally recognized as allergens, are present in our products, with the exception of perfume, preservatives and very few specific ingredients in low concentrations, which are thoroughly assessed.
For products that do include perfume, like feminine pads and liners, we make sure to say so clearly on our labelling, with terms like “contains perfume” or “scented”. We carefully select and assess the perfumes in these products to make sure they’re safe for their intended use.
In principle, no. Our hygiene products don’t contain any substances that directly originate from animals. That would go against the spirit of care that’s at the core of what we do. We also don’t conduct animal testing on our products, except when legally required to do so.
On the other hand, the supply chain for our products is complex, and although we believe the risk is small, we can’t absolutely guarantee that others in our supply chain haven’t come into contact with animal-based materials.
In principle our products don’t contain substances that directly originate from animals. However, we can’t really make the claim of “vegan” for our products. This is because the supply chain for our products is complex, and we can’t guarantee that others further up the chain haven’t come into contact with animal-based materials.
We have the same concern, and in principle, the answer is no. We don’t use wood fibers derived from genetically modified trees.
Moreover, the two international forest schemes, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) do not currently permit the use of GMOs in forestry. And Essity actually only uses fresh fibers which are either FSC- or PEFC-certified.
At Essity we recognize the existing long-term uncertainties regarding environmental and health risks concerning the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). That’s why we take a precautionary approach to using materials that derive from GMOs.
If you would like to know more, please see Essity's GMO position.