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Dangerous Cosmetics

dangerous cosmetics

There is some pretty hot controversy over the safety of cosmetics because there is scant evidence regarding the extent to which ingredients in cosmetics our body absorbs.

dangerous cosmetics

 

More than 11 billion personal care products are sold annually in the U.S., and, as of 2007, 98 percent of these contain one or more ingredients never publicly assessed for safety. With the exception of color additives, the FDA does not have the authority to require companies to test their cosmetic products before they are on the market (though the FDA take action if there’s reliable scientific evidence that a cosmetic product or ingredient is unsafe). So it is up to the cosmetics companies to verify the safety of their products prior to marketing them.

Chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, and other hazardous ingredients are turning up in make-up, skin creams, and hair styling products. Here are some beauty alerts

Mercury in Skin creams, soaps, and lotions

An FDA investigation found imported skin creams may contain toxic levels of mercury and other heavy metals. The creams for “skin lightening” and anti-ageing and acne treatments include Stillman’s skin bleach cream, Diana skin lightening formula, and numerous products with labels in Chinese, Hindi, and other languages.

Mercury exposure can damage the kidneys and nervous system. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include tremors, memory problems, irritability, and changes in vision or hearing. The creams have turned up in seven states so far, and several cases of serious mercury poisoning have been reported.

Check the label for mercury, mercurous chloride,calomel,mercuric,or Mercurio.  If there is no list of ingredients, don’t use the product.

 

Phthalates in Perfumes and fragrances

Fragrances are a large source of allergic and skin reactions. They might also contain synthetic musks, which potentially mess with endocrine function and phthalates and plasticizers (a class of chemicals that enhance the flexibility and longevity of products) that have been linked to hormone problems and issues with reproduction, infant development, and fertility. Due to consumer pressure, some phthalates are being phased out of cosmetics, but in 2010 diethyl phthalate (DEP) was found in 12 of 17 tested fragrance products.

The phthalates are often not listed on the label and are covered under the generic name of “fragrance,” so it can be difficult to avoid them. The best bet is to look for products (shampoos, lotions, and other beauty products, in addition to perfumes) that state they’re made without phthalates or DEP.

 

Bacteria in Mascara

The microbes do not arrive in the mascara itself. It is the result of keeping mascara too long. According to a study in Optometry, bacteria that are naturally present in the eyes can be transferred into mascara via the wand. When the researchers tested mascaras, microbes were present in 33 percent of the products tested.

bacteria in cosmetics

In most cases, the bacteria found  were staphylococcus or Streptococcus. Fungi were also found. Mascara contains preservatives that prevent bacteria from breeding. Typically, mascara is safe for three months.  However, the Optometry study tested mascara samples that were less than three months old.

An additional warning for all of us who keep our mascara in our purses; heat will quickly degrade the preservatives, allowing bacteria to proliferate faster.

A few tips for mascara safety:

Store mascara in a cool place.

Toss mascara after a few months and replace.

Stop at two coats. Multiple layers can plug the oil glands along the edge of eyelids, causing sties.

 

Triclosan in Antibacterial Products

Triclosan is a common preservative that helps to prevent bacteria from growing in cosmetic products, antibacterial soaps and body washes, and some tooth -pastes and deodorants. Studies suggest triclosan might disrupt thyroid and hormone function .

If a product contains triclosan, it will be listed on the label. And since there is no evidence that triclosan-enhanced antibacterial soaps and body washes actually provide extra health benefits, there is no reason to use anything but regular (triclosan-free) soap and water.

 

Lead in Lipstick

FDA tested hundreds of lipsticks following an alert issued by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Two consecutive FDA investigations found lead in 100 percent of the lipsticks tested. And the amounts of lead found are not small. The first FDA test revealed lead levels up to 3.06 ppm (parts per million), and the second FDA test — scheduled for publication in the May/June 2012 issue of Cosmetic Science– found lead levels up to 7.19 ppm.Many lipsticks contain retinyl palmitate, a synthetic vitamin A substitute that breaks down upon exposure to light and might contribute to free radical formation.

lead in lipstic

 

The brands that tested positive for lead levels included well-respected national brands including L’Oreal, Revlon, Avon, and Cover Girl. And high-end brands like Dior and M.A.C. were not exempt either.

Lead exposure can cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and other organs. But the FDA issued a consumer Q&A concluding that the lipsticks posed no danger if used correctly. In other words, do not lick your lips, eat anything while wearing lipstick, or kiss anyone and everything’s fine.

 

Formaldehyde in Hair straighteners

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established formaldehyde, a carcinogen. Many keratin-based hair straighteners contain formaldehyde. The levels of formaldehyde found were fairly low, and should not pose a hazard if you’re only straightening your hair a few times a year, but more often than that is not a great idea. And stylists, who use the products on their customers regularly, are at risk.

 

Chemicals in Permanent hair dyes

The active ingredient methylene bis (2-chloroaniline) found in hair dyes can cause bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and acute leukemia.

Do a patch test first for allergic reactions. Follow directions carefully, wear gloves while applying the dye, and rinse the scalp thoroughly with water after applying. Never mix different dye products (this could cause harmful reactions) and never dye the eyebrows or eyelashes. Stick to Henna.

 

Mica in Mineral Make-up

Often considered a natural alternative to make-up, mineral-based products often come in the form of powders. The problem results because the particles of minerals such as mica are so small, they float through the air and sometimes enter into the lungs.  According to pulmonologists, the tiny particulates in loose powders (from ingredients like talc and mica) can be inhaled into the lungs, possibly causing permanent lung damage.

Switch out loose powders for liquid foundation and cream blush or bronzer or at least stick to pressed powder.

 

Parabens –A Common Preservative

Many cosmetic products from shaving products to moisturizers to hair care and makeup use Parabens as a preservative. Parabens can act like estrogen in the body. Research suggests parabens can stick around in the body, and they might affect skin on a cellular level while they are at it. Studies have also detected parabens in human breast tumors, and some researchers contend parabens can actually cause breast cancer. Allergic reactions are also common.

Check the label for “paraben” (methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and iso propylparaben). These days, a lot of products, such as shampoos and moisturizers, emphasize that they are “paraben free”, making choices a little easier.

 

Do Not Panic!

A lot of research concludes that the small amounts of these chemicals found in cosmetics don’t pose a risk. There are simple steps we can take to limit the chances of cosmetics making us sick.

Read labels. Run a specific product through this database or check out this pocket guide during a shopping trip for quick reference to what not to buy a product if it does not have a label.

Practice good hygiene.Wash hands before using makeup, don’t share products or brushes, and don’t use saliva to wet brushes.

Rinse, then sleep.Remove all make-up before going to bed, especially eye make-up.  If mascara flakes into the eyes while a person sleeps, it can cause itching, bloodshot eyes, infections, and eye scratches.

Keep it shut. Keep makeup containers closed tight when they’re not in use.  Store them out of the sun and heat, which can kill the preservatives that help fight bacteria. If possible, store cosmetics outside the bathroom, since its warm, moist environment enables bacteria to grow.

Don’t add water. Adding water to cosmetics can up the risk of bacterial contamination.

If it changes, toss it.Immediately throw away makeup if the color changes or it starts to smell.

AJ
AJ is a full loving person who enjoys his work thoroughly and has a keen interest in Web Designing. He is a professional web designer and a blogger. Founder of a tech blog Techzib and a Web Designing Agency Anujal Infotech. In his free time, he loves watching movies.
http://prairiehive.com/

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