Safety of Cosmetics – Safe Cosmetic Ingredients
Have you ever read the label on the back of a bottle and wondered what half the skincare ingredients meant? You may be shocked to learn how many harmful ingredients are in your beauty products. And maybe even more surprised to find out there is very little government regulation in this area. In this article, we are going to discuss the safety of cosmetics, and which are cosmetic ingredients to avoid.
Did you know that the average American woman uses 12 personal care products per day, containing 126 different chemicals? The average man uses about half that number. Let’s keep in mind that these are just cosmetics, not skincare products like soaps or moisturizers. Now the average American teenager uses even more products. All these chemicals end up absorbing into your skin and entering your body, some of which are carcinogenic. Over time, exposure to these chemicals can lead to chronic health issues. Studies have linked many of these ingredients to cancer, teratogenicity (birth defects), neurotoxicity as well as organ toxicity.
Safe Cosmetic Ingredients:
Instead of just buying anything that smells good, you have the responsibility to make sure your favorite cosmetics are safe. Good cosmetic companies do their best to ensure all ingredients are healthy and natural.
What is Safe? Natural Ingredients:
So what makes a natural ingredient safe? The answer is a bit of a gray area. Natural ingredients can be extremely beneficial to your skin, but some natural substances are also harmful when used improperly. For example, lemon juice contains citric acid, which can cause redness and erythema if applied too much or left on for too long. Just like any other kind of cosmetic ingredient, if a natural ingredient is safe depends on how it’s used.
Skincare Natural Ingredients that are Safe:
There are many natural ingredients that you can safely use in your cosmetics, moisturizers, and cleansers. These include:
- Aloe Vera – Good for moisturizing and soothing the skin, anti-inflammatory
- Cocoa butter – An excellent emollient that’s also beneficial for softening rough or chapped areas of skin. Many natural skincare products use cocoa butter as a key ingredient to help improve your tone and texture.
- Vitamin E – One of the most well-known skincare ingredients. Vitamin E is exceptional for soothing dry or irritated skin, as well as strengthening your skin’s capillaries and capillary walls to prevent redness and bruising.
- Avocado – For dry skin types, avocado oil can work wonders with its nutritive value.
These are just a few natural ingredients for skincare products. There are many more plants and fruits that also do wonders for your body, and can help you create safe and healthy cosmetics. Just remember to always research a plant or fruit before using it as an ingredient in your beauty product.
While the FDA regulates the safety of cosmetic products or ingredients, they do not have to approve a product before it hits store shelves. This means that many companies can sell potentially harmful cosmetics as long as they contain less than half an ounce of an active ingredient. In other words, if a company wants to sell a facial cream that contains mercury as an active ingredient, all they have to do is keep the mercury content below 0.5 ounces per container.
As for natural ingredients, the FDA has very little oversight and companies can basically use any raw material as long as it’s “Generally Recognized as Safe”. If you want to avoid harmful chemicals in your cosmetics, you need to check the labels before buying. You will be surprised how many ingredients are on the ‘Avoid’ list below.
Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate:
These are terrible for your skin and overall health. They can cause dermatitis, scalp irritation, hair loss, and ear damage. The manufacturing process of these ingredients produces harmful carcinogens such as Dioxane. The only way to know if a product contains them is if the word ‘Sulfate’ appears in its ingredients.
These are commonly found in lotions, facial products, shampoos, and sunscreens. Parabens mimic estrogen, so they encourage the growth of breast cancer cells by traveling through your skin into your bloodstream. Studies have shown that they are also linked to infertility.
This is an alcohol that is used as a preservative that can cause vomiting, spasms, and central nervous system depression. It depresses the nervous system and affects babies and young children most severely. At high concentrations, it can cause paralysis and be extremely deadly.
Used in antibacterial soaps and body washes, this ingredient has been shown to be carcinogenic. It can also disrupt thyroid function, contribute to antibiotic resistance, and cause organ damage (hepatotoxicity).
Mineral oil or petroleum jelly:
Used as a lubricant, it suffocates the skin and clogs the pores. It is also linked to cancer, birth defects, and organ toxicity.
Lead even enters our food supply through mineral-based fertilizers – it can be found in shampoos, skin lighteners, hair dyes, mascaras, lipsticks. Lead builds up over time, damaging the kidneys and causing organ damage.
The safety of cosmetics can be questionable at best. Most ingredients have not undergone any testing before being used, and there are many hidden carcinogens. To stay safe, always read the labels of cosmetics you buy to avoid harmful chemicals.