The Dangers of Cosmetics
Cosmetics are comprised of a combination of different chemical substances derived either from natural sources, such as mineral oil, or synthetic ones, such as parabens, or formaldehyde. Most cosmeceuticals, if not all cosmetic companies do not practice good manufacturing practices. Cosmetics are not regulated as drugs are under the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, no matter what type of cosmetics you purchase, you have no legal way of knowing that they were manufactured in accordance with safety standards. In addition, some ingredients used in cosmetics and even hair dyes can cause allergic reactions, permanent skin damage, cancer, and birth defects.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published many regulations concerning the manufacture of cosmetics, most of which are designed to protect the public from exposure to cosmetics. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also has rules and regulations in place for cosmetics that are intended for ingestion, and for cosmetics that are for external use only. One of the most important regulations for cosmetic products is the listing of hazardous substances. Cosmetics that contain any type of toxic chemical must include the symbol “HC” on their labels website.
The majority of cosmetics, including regular soap, contain a small number of harmful ingredients that are known to cause allergic reactions. These ingredients include carcinogens and neurotoxins, which increase the risk of cancer and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Some other common toxic chemicals commonly found in cosmetics products are formaldehyde, dioxins, parabens, and sodium lauryl sulfate. These chemicals are commonly added as fragrance ingredients and preservatives, but research has demonstrated that they contribute to the formation of tumors in animals and interfere with the function of endocrine systems in human beings.
Cosmetic companies are not required to list the chemicals used in making their consumer products, but studies have shown that most of the cosmetic ingredients are toxic. For example, the commonly used fragrance ingredient, parabens, has been proven to be an endocrine system disruption and carcinogen. Other commonly used toxic chemicals are formaldehyde and sodium lauryl sulfate. Both of these chemicals are cancer causing and nerve damaging. Cosmetic companies are not required to remove these chemicals, but the cosmetic industry is required to conduct testing that proves their safety.
According to the European Union, cosmetics should include only “natural and organic” ingredients. The U.S. FDA does not currently regulate the cosmetics industry. For this reason, consumers are largely left to trust that the cosmetics they use on their skin are safe and effective. Few manufacturers are making an effort to ensure that their anti-aging creams, lotions, and sunscreens are effective and provide consumers with a safe alternative to traditional anti-aging skin care products.
The best way to make sure that the skin care cream or lotion you choose is safe and effective is to look for information about the manufacturing process and ingredients. Companies that have signed the “Compact for Safe Cosmetics” are required to list the oils and waxes they use as part of the list of ingredients in all of their cosmetics and skincare creams. A company can use natural oils and waxes such as shea butter, avocado oil, macadamia oil, or grapeseed oil. They can also use artificial oils and waxes like petroleum based alcohols, paraffin wax, liquid paraffin, and mineral oil. Natural sunscreens like zinc oxide are an effective way to protect the skin from the sun and to prevent early signs of aging.