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France bans vitamin K1 from cosmetic products

Vitamin K1 serum, or phytonadione, is used in a variety of cosmetic topical application for a number dermatological problems as well for treating swelling and bruising often associated with cosmetic surgery.

Afssaps says that, as well as known allergic reactions, K1 can also compromise the use of certain medicines and drugs, specifically those to treat hemorrhaging conditions.

The agency says there is now clear evidence that because of the way K1 reduces the effectiveness of certain anti-coagulants and other injectable treatments for hemorrhaging conditions this means the inclusion of K1 in cosmetic products could put sufferers' health at risk.

The Afssaps reported that it has received reports of twelve extreme allergic reactions, all eczema-related conditions of the face and body. Six of the sufferers were reported to have conditions so extreme that they had to be hospitalised in order to receive the right treatment.

"Cosmetics products that include K1 can represent a serious threat to human health," an official statement from Afssaps said.

Evidence has been building in recent years, pointing to a need to take action over the ingredient, Afssaps said.

Last year scienfic studies carried out separately in Italy and Spain documented allergic reactions to K1 cosmetic products, which led to documented evidence being published to outline sensitivity to the vitamin.

In an official statement the French Federation of Fragrance Industries said that vitamin K1 was not widely used as an ingredient within the cosmetics industry, hinting that the danger it posed to the public was minimal.

Afssaps has made several attempts to warn about the dangers posed by the inclusion of K1 in cosmetic products in recent years, as it has a catalogue of complaints that go back to 2003.

Indeed a number of cosmetics players have already taken heed of previous warnings and discontinued the use of the ingredient in their products.