Are your beauty products really making you beautiful?
Many products contain harmful chemicals that can negatively affect health.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 16:01
CAREFUL CONSUMPTION: Don't let the pretty packaging deceive you -- your PCPs could be harming your health. (Photo: Akira Ohgaki/Flickr)
Most people acknowledge that one's beauty is just as important on the inside as it is on the outside. Most people ... except U.S. beauty product manufacturers. Right now, except in the state of California, there are no restrictions on the ingredients found in personal care products (PCPs) besides those that serve as colorants. There is no system of approval of ingredients, no uniform labeling requirements and no specific chemicals used for creating fragrances have to be listed on any product. The European Union has had a cosmetics director since 1976 and since 2005 all ingredients have been subject to scientific review. All CMRs (carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxicants) are immediately added to a banned list. The EU has also moved towards a phase-out of animal testing for cosmetics.
There are four things to think about when you are buying a PCP:
1) Fragrance. If your PCP simply has "fragrance" listed, it is highly likely that phthalates are present. Phthalates are used as preservatives for the color and scent of a product. They are known endocrine disruptors, causing reproductive abnormalities such as increases in birth defects, lowered sperm counts and an increases in the rates of testicular cancer. They are also associated with metabolic syndrome (high abdominal fat and insulin resistance).
2) Lead. 2/3 of lipstick (especially red lipstick) contain lead, which is known to cause neuro-cognitive disorders.
3) Carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxicants (CMRs).
IARC Group 1 — ethylene oxide, formaldehyde and polychromatic hydrocarbons (common contaminants of petroleum jelly)
IARC Group 2 — 1, 4 dioxene, acrylamide (in nail polish) and nitrosamins (preservatives also found in processed meat)
4) Parabens. Preservatives that are proven endocrine disruptors. High amounts of parabens are found in breast tumor tissue.
These chemicals are able to pass through ones skin in this route: epidermal to dermal to subcutaneous. Therefore, once a chemical has made it through the skin, it has an easy ride through one's bloodstream. Because PCPs are used on a daily basis, exposure to these toxic chemicals is wide and should be taken into consideration when purchasing future products.
An intriguing and interesting study was done on the chemicals found in the PCPs commonly used by young people in Maine.