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Download SDS's

Derivan has all the SDS sheets (GHS compliant) for Derivan products are available for download here. Cant find what you are looking for? email [email protected]


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Common Questions

Check the relevant Safety Data Sheets (above), making sure you match the product exactly with the correct SDS document.

Most Derivan products are non-toxic (although not edible). There are some exceptions, including:

  • MM14 Gloss Varnish (turps-based)

  • MM15 Matt Varnish (turps-based)

  • Derivan Oil-based Patina

The above contain turpentine, which should not be ingested. Seek medical advice immediately if ingestion has occurred.

You should also be aware that some colours in the Matisse Structure, Flow and Fluid ranges contain potentially harmful pigments. These are the cadmium colours.Again, details and precautions can be found in the relevant SDS sheets.

Cadmium is a naturally occurring metal found and extracted as a by-product during the production of other metals such as zinc, lead and copper. It has many applications in industrial and consumer products, including artist’s pigments.

Sulphides (chemical compounds containing Sulfur) formed in Cadmiums are used in Yellow pigments and Cadmium Selenide can be used in the red variants of these pigments. Colours containing cadmium pigments are known to be the most brilliant and long-lasting (permanent) and highly tinting colours in an artist’s palette.

These pigments (specially in their powder state) are classified as “potentially” toxic, therefore care in the handling, storage and use should be taken with cadmium paints, even though levels of toxicity are lesser when these pigment are dispersed in acrylic or oil binders. Nevertheless, The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified cadmium and cadmium compounds as carcinogenic to humans (as a result of long term exposure).

the amount of cadmium absorbed into the body through the skin is usually reported to be less than 1% and higher levels of cadmium exposure, found in the general population, is due to tobacco smoking. Cadmium is an environmental and lifestyle hazard.

The range of Matisse cadmium paints manufactured with cadmium pigments are:

  • Matisse Structure/Flow/Fluid Cadmium Yellow Light

  • Matisse Structure/Flow/Fluid Cadmium Yellow Medium

  • Matisse Structure/Flow/Fluid Cadmium Orange

  • Matisse Structure/Flow Cadmium Orange Deep

  • Matisse Structure/Flow/Fluid Cadmium Red Medium

Due to the inherent characteristics of cadmium pigments used in the production of these colours, Matisse cadmium colours are highly permanent and opaque.

Cadmium exposure via the handling and use of Cadmium paints is very small (read next article below) but if you are an artist who uses their hands to paint, it is recommended to use latex gloves (or barrier cream) to prevent absorption through the skin when working with them. If you do get cadmium paints on your skin, wash thoroughly and immediately with soap and water.

The above list of cadmium colours contain cadmium, which should not be ingested. If ingested, DO NOT attempt to induce vomiting and seek medical advice or attention immediately.

Pets and small children should also be kept away from areas where these paints are being used.

These cadmium colours may be packed in 75ml tubes, 250ml jars, 500ml jars, and some, in 1 Litre jars or by arrangement in larger sizes. Please note that Cadmium Yellow (Hue) in the NEW Derivan Acrylic range does not contain any cadmium pigment.

The rest of the Matisse and Derivan ranges are all made to relevant standards where they exist and are considered to be non toxic, however none of these products are designed to be consumed. Paints labelled as ‘non-toxic’ are exactly that when being used for their intended purpose. It does not mean that they are safe to ingest or to be left on skin for extended periods of time. 

We do not add or use any of the following in our products: - Nuts (sesame, peanut) - egg - dairy - crustacean - soy - mustard - wheat (gluten) - corn.

None of the raw materials from our paint are derived from these. The machines in the Derivan factory do not have any of the above materials processed through them.

We contacted suppliers when researching allergens as to whether these materials were processed in the same environment as our raw materials; we did not have any suppliers say that they did. (However we only had approx. 60% of suppliers reply and only a few would give us an assurance that the raw materials were completely free of these allergens).

It is recommended that a “patch test” be done for people that might suffer from minor symptoms due to potential allergens. We would advise consulting a doctor BEFORE attempting any testing if a person has life threatening conditions related to any of these allergens. We cannot guarantee for sure that there is no trace of these allergens in the products.

With one exception we do not use animal products in any of our paints, that being our Ivory Black pigment*.

*Ivory black (Only in the Matisse professional artist range) - is made from burnt bones, which is a recycled by-product from abattoirs.

We do not test on animals. However, with 1200 different ingredients no doubt some of these raw materials by their manufacturers would have no choice but to test them to comply with regulations. We certainly do not believe in animal testing and strive to be conscientious towards producing an animal friendly product.


  • Work in a well-ventilated area.

  • Do not eat while you are painting.

  • Understand that what is on your skin can be absorbed into the body. Use latex latex (or other) gloves if you like to paint with your hands. Wear protective clothing.

  • DO NOT pour excess paint down the sink.

  • If you have children that want to join the painting fun, be sure that they have their own set of 'non-toxic' children's paints and supervise them accordingly.

  • Keep your art supplies out of the reach of small children, ie: locked studio or dedicated storage boxes and shelving.

  • Observe common studio practice by removing paint from skin with soap and water after painting session.

I've heard that acrylic paints can be harmful/carcinogenic when used on the skin.

This is not strictly true. Although some regular artist acrylics may contain pigments that are possibly carcinogenic, it is the pigment that poses the danger - not the acrylic. Potentially harmful pigments will usually have more obvious health warnings on them than a cigarette packet, so it will not be hard to work out which are the bad ones.

Keep in mind, though, that there are other reasons not to use artist paints on the skin: the same reasons that anything other than cosmetics should not be used on the skin. Only cosmetic products made to cosmetic standards (or other therapeutic goods that are designed to go on the skin) are made using materials that are proven to be safe on the skin and can be used for prolonged periods without any side effects. Derivan Face & Body Paint is one such cosmetic product.

As for other Derivan products, if they are labelled non-toxic then that’s what they are. However, being non-toxic does not mean that they are safe to eat, or, for that matter, go on the skin. They are designed to be safe for their intended use and if a person happens to consume a small amount ‘accidentally’ or get some on their skin, the average person will have no reaction. You should keep in mind that there are people who are not ‘average’ and are hyper-sensitive to some things. They may find that the paints cause them irritation or even cause them to become quite ill, and this can happen with many different things - even the humble peanut can quite literally be life threatening to some people. With that said, I can't remember a health complaint about our products (and I have been here since 1983). In short, "non-toxic" does not equal "cosmetic".

To summarise: Acrylics are not necessarily dangerous (many acrylics are approved and used in cosmetics worldwide) however it is certainly wrong to use a regular artist acrylic as a face paint. Only paints such as the Derivan Face & Body Paint that are cosmetic products, should be used.

Derivan Pty Ltd © 23 Leeds Street, Rhodes NSW 2138 Australia

Site © 2019 Derivan Pty Ltd.

Skin Sensitivity and biocide/fungicide content of Derivan products.

Since 2020 it has been a requirement in the EU to label any products containing methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Chloromethylisothiazolinone (CIT) at levels above 15PPM (deemed to potentially cause skin irritations in humans). You may notice some other paint companies with skin sensitivity warnings on their products. 

Derivan has been working since 2016 to reduce or remove MIT, CIT and even BIT (which has a far higher limit) from its paint and mediums products where they were present. As of 2018, all Derivan products meet EU requirements and DO NOT require any skin irritant labelling. 

The range of Isothiazolinones are biocides that have been used throughout many industries to reduce the potential for bacteria and fungal growth. All water-based paints and mediums must contain some form of bacteriacide to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus. Bacteria is constantly in the air, and opening a jar or tube of paint, even for a short time will allow bacteria to settle on the paint surface and start to multiply, add a warm temperature above 25C and bacteria can be detected multiplying in only a few hours. 

All Bactericides, by their nature are harmful to microorganisms. At Derivan the balance of biocide in the paint is kept as low as possible while still being effective - therefore, when asked about adding water to the paint, we always suggest to use either distilled water or water which has been brought to a rolling boil for 3 minutes (min) and left to cool, so as to limit the introduction of bacteria to the paint. 

If you suffer from allergies that may be triggered by particular compounds please speak to your doctor before using any paints. At Derivan we are happy to disclose ingredients that may be of concern to you through your doctor.