Basic Violet 3, Basic Violet 1, and Basic Violet 4 are triphenylmethane dyes that function as direct (nonoxidative) hair colorants. No current uses or use concentrations in cosmetics are reported. The term Gentian Violet is used synonymously with Basic Violet 1 and Basic Violet 3, although the chemical structures of these 2 dyes are not the same. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel noted that Basic Violet 1, 3, and 4 contain quaternary ammonium ions, and therefore the rate of penetration across the epidermis is expected to be slow. The panel concluded that because of the carcinogenic potential of these dyes, insufficient data exist to support the safety of Basic Violet 1, 3, and 4 in cosmetic formulation. Dermal absorption data and a risk assessment are needed to complete this safety assessment.
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