BioNike "Free From Philosophy"

Our products are free from a number of substances that the dermatological literature has identified as triggers for contact allergies, which sees us make products that are:

  • Preservative-free
  • Perfume-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Nickel-tested

Our “free-from philosophy” is the result of constant research work we started in the 1990s, which we carry on today and that allow us to develop innovative strategies all the time.


Based on regulations established by the European Union, a number of preservatives are deemed safe for use in cosmetics, thus authorised for use (EC Cosmetic Regulation n° 1223/2009 – Annex V). Nonetheless, the literature reports that, in the case of individual hypersensitivity, a number of preservatives may trigger an allergic skin reaction.

Given this, BioNike has developed a special formulation strategy that allows to exclude traditionally-used cosmetic preservatives though keeping our products effectively protected from microorganisms.

As a result of this strategy, all products of the Triderm, DefenceShine On, Proxera  and Gynexelle ranges are made free from preservatives.


According to dermatological literature, perfume is a primary cause of allergic reactions  and the cosmetic regulations, in an effort to protect end users’ health, has identified a number of perfume components (26 substances) potentially responsible for triggering a skin reaction, and has made it compulsory to state their presence in the ingredient list on the cosmetic package when a perfume that includes any of them is used.

BioNike products are made free from perfume to reduce the chances of skin reactions. Since a pleasant smell is key to end user appreciation of the product, though we’ve given up perfume, this has also led us to find alternative formulation strategies to improve the smell of our products by selecting ingredients also according to olfactory parameters. Nonetheless, a few of our products do carry a perfume since certain products require a fragrance to achieve the level of pleasantness end users expect. However, when perfume is indeed included in BioNike products, we use “special” perfumes, meaning that they are carefully selected to make sure they do not include any of the aforesaid sensitisers (which means we use allergen-free perfume).

To reduce the chances of triggering skin reactions, the products of the Triderm, DefenceShine On, Proxera  and Gynexelle ranges do not include perfume (o include allergen-free perfume).


The literature clearly shows that gluten contained in topical products may trigger forms of skin intolerance and allergic reactions in allergy-prone subjects affected by "non-celiac gluten sensitivity".

The statement indicating that products "do not contain gluten or gluten derivatives" allows subjects with non-celiac gluten sensitivity to take an informed decision.

As a result, all raw materials used in products of the Triderm, DefenceShine On, Proxera  and Gynexelle ranges are carefully selected to exclude any possible gluten source.


Cosmetics regulations in force, namely EC Regulation 1223/2009, has included nickel and its derivatives in Annex II (substances banned for cosmetic use). Article 17 of the same Regulation reads:

"The non-intended presence of a small quantity of a prohibited substance, stemming from impurities of natural or synthetic ingredients, the manufacturing process, storage, migration from packaging, which is technically unavoidable in good manufacturing practice, shall be permitted... "

In short, no thresholds have been established for the technically unavoidable traces that may be found in cosmetics.

ICIM has decided to take it from there and indeed set parameters for managing nickel contamination in our manufacturing processes. This has led to implementing a test performed on each production batch to monitor the manufacturing process and any nickel traces that might end up in the finished product and possibly lead to skin allergy.

Nickel-induced allergic contact dermatitis (DAC) is the most common form of dermatitis in industrialised countries. It particularly affects the female population and certain professions because of their greater exposure to contact with products, objects or substances containing nickel.

The main therapy for nickel-induced dermatitis is based on eliminating the contact with this metal. While it is well known that primary sensitisation may be caused by contact with metal alloys or objects that contain nickel, the risk involved in the contact with products that are contaminated by nickel is less known. The latter products include cosmetics, with makeup posing the major risk.

The BioNike products are developed to meet the needs of end users with sensitive, allergic and reactive skin.

What is the amount of nickel in cosmetics considered safe for skin?

In the case of damaged or broken skin, as may occur often with dermatitis, absorption by skin is much higher, hence the sensitisation threshold lowers. Occlusive patch testing performed on irritated skin have shown reactions to nickel amounts as low as 0.5 ppm.

Given the aforesaid sensitisation risk, we have implemented a strategy to minimise nickel in our products, thus we guarantee for every production batch that any traces of nickel left over  will be lower than 0,1 ppm (0,00001%), which is a threshold 10 times lower than the threshold the literature states an allergic reaction to nickel may occur. 

Since also residual content of nickel may lead to allergic reactions or sensitisation, especially in allergy-prone skin individuals, all the products of the Triderm, DefenceShine On, Proxera  and ONails ranges are guaranteed to have a nickel content lower than 0.00001%, that is 10 times lower than the minimum threshold the literature has identified for triggering a reaction.

As for BioNike makeup ranges Defence Color and Defence Color Cover, in addition to Nickel, we also check the presence of other heavy metals such as cobalt and chromium, to ensure that cobalt and chromium content is also as low as possible. Since the elimination of all impurities is difficult to achieve, especially in colour cosmetics, in addition to checking the content of nickel, chromium and cobalt (carried out on each production batch), every makeup formulation is also tested to ensure that there is no release of these metals from the cosmetic matrix (test performed according to European Directive n° 94/27/EC).

As a result Defence Color and Defence Color Cover make up ranges are developed in a manner that minimises heavy metals such as nickel, chromium and cobalt, since even residual content of these metals may lead to allergic reactions or sensitisation, especially in allergy-prone skin individuals.

*Article retrieved from