Unraveling the Safety of Silk Proteins in Cosmetics: An In-Depth Analysis


Silk, the luxurious fabric known for its shimmering appearance, has been coveted for centuries. But did you know that silk proteins are also a key ingredient in many cosmetic products? From skincare to hair care, silk proteins have found their way into our daily beauty routines. But how safe are they? Let’s delve into the science behind the safety of silk proteins in cosmetics.

The Science Behind Silk Proteins

Silk proteins are derived from the silkworm, Bombyx mori. These proteins are complex, high molecular-weight compounds composed mainly of two proteins: fibroin and sericin. They are used in a wide range of cosmetic products, including lotions, creams, powders, shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products.

The Safety Assessment

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel, a group of independent scientists and health professionals, conducted a comprehensive safety assessment of silk proteins. They examined a wealth of toxicological data, including acute toxicity, chronic toxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and more.

The Verdict

The CIR Expert Panel concluded that silk proteins and their variants are safe for use in cosmetics when formulated to be non-irritating. This conclusion is based on the current practices of use and concentration in cosmetic products. However, the panel emphasized that the safety of these ingredients should be reassessed if new data suggest significant absorption, or if the manufacturing process or use changes.

The INCI Names and Safety Ratings

To help consumers make informed decisions, we’ve compiled a list of the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) names for silk proteins, along with their safety ratings from the Environmental Working Group (EWG):

INCI NameEWG RatingWebsite
Hydrolyzed Silk1EWG
Hydrolyzed Sericin1EWG
Hydrolyzed Silk Powder1EWG
Hydrolyzed Silk Solution1EWG
Protein Hydrolyzates, Silk1EWG
Silk Hydrolysate1EWG

The EWG rating scale ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being the safest and 10 being the most hazardous. All the Silk Proteins listed here have the safest rating of 1, indicating they are generally considered safe for use in cosmetics.

Please note that while these ratings provide a useful guide, they are not definitive. The safety of a product depends not only on the safety of its ingredients but also on its concentration and the way they interact with other ingredients in the product. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before using a new product, especially if you have sensitive skin.


Silk proteins, with their unique properties and benefits, have become a staple in the cosmetics industry. The safety assessment by the CIR Expert Panel provides reassurance about their use in our daily beauty products. However, as with any ingredient, it’s important to stay informed and vigilant about any new data or changes in use.

Please note that this blog post is a summary of the safety assessment and the actual document contains much more detailed information. For a more comprehensive understanding, please refer to the original document.

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