It would probably never cross your mind that the beautiful lipstick that leaves a fantastic color on your lips could contain components that affect your health, right? Unfortunately, this problem exists, and it’s pretty serious.
There are thousands of chemicals in beauty products, and the body absorbs many of them. From lipsticks and mascara, to face creams and hair care products, they may contain synthetic chemicals that are skin irritants, endocrine disrupters and, in the worst cases, carcinogenic.
The main issue comes from the fact that personal care companies can use any ingredient, or even raw materials without government review or approval.
According to Time magazine, “health-related complaints about cosmetic products like shampoo and makeup are at an all-time high since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began keeping track more than a decade ago.” Also, what is most alarming is that “currently, cosmetic manufacturers have no legal obligation to report health problems from their products to the FDA. Cosmetics also do not need to go through a pre-market approval process before they are sold in stores, and regulators do not assess the safety and effectiveness of the claims on the products.”
For all this, it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves and be aware of what are we applying on our faces, bodies, and hair. The same way we look at food labels, we should be doing for beauty products.
What can we do to fight against the health hazards of beauty products?
The best way to avoid the dangers that beauty products and other personal care articles can cause is by educating ourselves and do our research before purchasing an item. If we take the time to take care of what foods we consume, we should also take the time to decide what personal care products we use.
For instance, some of the harmful chemicals we should avoid are:
Parabens: which have estrogen-mimicking properties that have been associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
Phthalates: a group of chemicals found in nail polish, deodorants and moisturizers, which are known to be endocrine disruptors and are also linked to increased risk of breast cancer, as well as reproductive birth defects.
Triclosan: is an antibacterial chemical that can be a skin irritant, and also an endocrine disruptor, especially for thyroid and reproductive hormones.
Formaldehyde: this preservative is used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. It was deemed as a human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens (IARC). It is also known to cause allergic skin reactions and it may also be harmful to the immune system.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): these surface-active agents are known to be eye, skin and lung irritants. The worst of all is that they can be found in over 90% of cleaning and personal care products.
It may be impossible to avoid every synthetic chemical out there, but what we can do is to limit the amount of toxic components we expose our body and health to.
Also, eating clean, staying away from processed foods, drinking lots of water, and looking for products that are certified organic will help us avoid the health hazards beauty and other daily-goods may have.