Controversy over browning shampoo used by 1 million people… KAIST “will re-prove stability”

Moda Moda Shampoo website

KAIST and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety are in a head-on conflict over Modamoda Prochange Black Shampoo, which claims to dye gray hair just by washing it. KAIST and Modamoda, which jointly developed the Modamoda shampoo, urged the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to suspend the addition of 1,2,4-trihydroxybenzene (THB), a shampoo ingredient, to the list of prohibited uses. Modamoda and KAIST held an online joint press conference on the 12th and presented grounds for rebutting the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s administrative notice.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced on the 27th of last month an administrative notice of an amendment to add THB as prohibited raw materials that cannot be used in cosmetics, and decided to receive opinions by the 17th. If there is no disagreement, manufacturing of the product is prohibited six months after the administrative notice. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said, “As a result of the risk assessment by the Food and Drug Administration, it was evaluated as a skin sensitizer (a symptom of acquired skin sensitivity), so it was added as a prohibited ingredient so that it cannot be used in cosmetics.” The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety presented Europe as an overseas case, which has banned the release of products containing THB since September last year.

Modamoda Shampoo, known as the world’s first dyeing effect shampoo, was first introduced in August last year through research and development of polyphenols by Professor Hae-shin Lee of KAIST’s Department of Chemistry. It utilizes the browning phenomenon of apples, and polyphenols are added to the existing shampoo. Modamoda claims that when shampoo is applied to the hair, polyphenols adhere to the hair surface and cause browning. Currently, 1.5 million bottles have been sold, and it is known that about 1 million people have used the shampoo. In addition to Korea, it is exported to the United States, Japan, and Taiwan.

Professor Lee Hae-shin of KAIST’s Department of Chemistry, who co-developed the shampoo with Modamoda, said in an interview that day, “It is difficult to agree with the judgment that THB ingredients are harmful even though we have proven the safety of the product through accredited clinical institutions several times and submitted data to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. “THB ingredient is contained in a very small amount in cleaning products and is an auxiliary ingredient that helps the solubilization of other polyphenol ingredients, and it has been proven harmless to human cells through research.”

External experts also argued that there was a lack of evidence on the harmfulness of THB components. Professor Gyu-ri Lee of the Department of Pharmacy at Gyeongsang National University criticized the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety based on the report of the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Product Safety (SCCS). Professor Gyuri Lee said, “If you look at the EU report, it should be noted that the THB component is dealing with the possibility of harm when combined with p-phenylenediamine (PPD), the main component of hair dye, and that this experiment is the result of using it for a long time like hair dye.” pointed out

Professor Lee Hyuk-jin of Ewha University’s Department of Pharmacy also argued, “In the same report, it is stated that THB does not affect mammalian cells even when used with hair dye. Professor Park Seong-young of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Korea Jiaotong University said, “If there are concerns about the genotoxicity of THB ingredients, the scope of the ban on the use of THB ingredients should be expanded not only in cosmetics but also in hair dyes.”

When asked about ‘side effects cases’, Modamoda CEO Bae Hyung-jin said, “We have received 12 complaints from dermatologists so far, which is a very weak level for functional cosmetics. We passed the most sensitive eye mucous membrane irritation test, and we will proceed with the remaining six.” Modamoda and KAIST will conduct a genotoxicity test at the level of prescription drugs within the first half of the year so that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety can review the administrative notice. In addition, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety plans to request the disclosure of information on the basis for the addition of the THB prohibition list and the establishment of a cleaning agent exception clause for the addition of the THB use prohibition list.

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