Are Cosmetics Safe?

Harmful chemicals to look goodSocial media assails us every day about what is considered “safe” … coffee’s bad for you today and okay to chug it next week, or eggs cause cholesterol, then more studies say you can eat as many eggs as you want.  Many years ago, women were scared by a study that said wearing red lipstick could cause oral cancer, but they refused to give up their tubes of red lipstick so easily.  In this ever-evolving list of what you should and should not do, perhaps it is time to take a look at some of the products women use on an everyday basis, and examine if “natural” products are safe or not.

Most women subject themselves to harmful chemicals to look good

A shower gel, shampoo… even a spritz of fragrance can be problematic, so read the daily health tips below.  For more of the latest health tips check out some daily health tips videos, these videos offer great advice about healthy living.

Antibacterial soaps and body washes, and some toothpastes and deodorants contain a preservative named triclosan.  While this preservative helps prevent bacteria from growing in cosmetic products, it may disrupt thyroid and hormone functions.  It may behoove you to check product labels or boxes to see if it contains triclosan.  It is also advisable to stop using antibacterial soaps and body washes and use regular (triclosan-free) soap and water instead.  There is also a chemical by the name of sodium laureth sulfate, which is used in products such as shampoo, toothpaste, and mouth rinses as foaming and cleansing agents, i.e. it, produces that foamy goodness when you lather up your hair or body, or when you brush your teeth.  While e-mails have circulated that this chemical causes cancer, a quick review of Snopes and the U.S.D.A verify that this particular foaming agent is not harmful to the consumer.  It seems impossible to fathom that washing your hair with oil could be helpful – after all, don’t you wash your hair to get it squeaky clean?  But Herbal Essences Wild Naturals trio of shampoo and conditioner and Rejuvenating Oil Elixir do quite the opposite.  This original brand of shampoo, long coveted for its suds and heavenly smell, now has a following for their natural product and an oil-based elixir which tames flyaways, smooths the hair shaft and makes tresses soft and more manageable.  No, you will not smell like an oil can either.  But, did you know a similar effect can be gained by deep moisturizing your hair with mayonnaise?  It will have the same effect… but try to stay out of the rain the next week or so until the smell wears off!

Fragrances have components that are considered a trade secret, so that combination of synthetic ingredients are not divulged.  Fragrances represent a large source of allergic and skin reactions.  If your laundry softener sheets can irritate your skin, imagine perfumed oils or fragrance which may potentially mess with a woman’s endocrine function, and/or have been linked to hormone problems and issues with reproduction, infant development, and fertility.  The culprit for these problems was phthalates, and they are gradually being phased out of cosmetics and fragrance products.

Clearly, the onus is on manufacturers to introduce safe products, and sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t… it is up to you, the consumer, to read the labels carefully, especially when it comes to cosmetics as facial skin is more sensitive, and using chemicals and/or known carcinogens around your eye area is really a no-no!

Are you slowly poisoning yourself?

It’s wonderful when a woman decides to take out the contact lenses, ease up on the cosmetics and just go for a natural look, but, then again, she’d probably never stray too far from the house!  Every woman knows it takes time to “maintain the look” and there are very few women that are natural beautifies.  If you look at the glossy pages of “People Magazine”, you’ll see the celebrities coming out of the gym after an intense workout session.  They don’t seem to sweat, just glisten, and not a hair is out of place – well, that’s not too believable you know, so don’t despair at your bare and fresh-faced look that you see in the mirror.

All women look better with a touch of makeup – but below, we’ll answer one of the common medical questionsare cosmetics safe?  If you don’t know what your makeup is comprised of, you’ll be surprised to find out.

Heavy metal

Chemicals, metals, bacteria, and other hazardous ingredients are present in makeup, skin creams, and hair styling products.   Your beauty routine may involve handling metals on an everyday basis… and OMG – your poor skin!

Toxic levels of mercury have been discovered in skin creams and people are getting sick from mercury contamination from these products.

If you skip the greasy facial creams because they plug up your pores, just keep reading, as some of the dangerous chemicals found in cosmetics can still clog your pores, cause allergic reactions, ruin your skin and even cause cancer!  Remember that the skin is permeable, so any creams or cosmetics applied onto the skin, go right through the skin.
Lead in Lipstick
Even if we aim for the natural look, try as we might, we simply cannot avoid using makeup.  Even if you are a minimalist, and buy a hypoallergenic brand of makeup, you are still applying cosmetics which may be hazardous to your health.  Lipsticks, and even eye shadows, for example, are known to contain lead, a carcinogen and neurotoxin that can affect the nervous system adversely, leading to high blood-pressure, allergies, behavioral abnormalities and even decreased rates of fertility!  Certain brands of loose facial power, could have you powdering your nose with a substance made from metal as well.

Mercury and parabens (a chemical preservative used in many cosmetics) are a pair of hazardous substances common to beauty products.  While paraben’s primary purpose is to inhibit bacteria, the chemical itself is known to trigger the growth of cancer cells in the body.

One of the safer products that women do to make themselves prettier, involves eyelash and eyebrow tinting – but this is dubious because of introducing anything potentially harmful in the proximity of the eyes like:

Eyelash and eyebrow tinting – Do you really want to bat those pretty peepers without spending a lot of time applying layers of mascara?  You can have your eyelashes tinted and the rest of the world is none the wiser.  It’s a perfect choice for women who lead a very active lifestyle, but can’t live without mascara, or want that made-up look before even getting out of bed.  It’s a perfect solution to give you dark and sensuous eyes without having to apply layers of mascara or use an eyebrow pencil.  It also works well for those with allergies that cause mascara and eye makeup to run, so they have eyelashes and eyebrows tinted to make them look darker.  The tinting process used involves a quick and harmless, non-surgical procedure using vegetable dye as tint.  The veggie tint because it is considered safe in such close proximity to the eyes.  However, to be absolutely sure that there will be no allergic reactions, as a general rule, a patch test will be conducted a few days before the procedure to ensure there are no allergic reactions or sensitivities to the product. This little indulgence, is not permanent however, and the eyelash and eyebrow tint will wear off in approximately four to six weeks.

Using dangerous cosmetics

Toxicity of nail polish
Nail polish – Nail polish may be considered an accessory to the wardrobe, but it is considered a big seller in the cosmetic aisles in the drug store or in upscale stores.  This is a cosmetic that goes onto your fingernails, so, no big deal, right?  But inside those colorful bottles of lacquer lurk toxic chemicals.  Though the labels on nail polish or nail polish remover, might lead you to believe that the chemicals are of no consequence, nail polish does contain a bevy of chemicals, including those known as endocrine disruptors, and have shown adverse effects at even very low doses.  Of more concern is the lasting effects of such toxic chemicals on the most-vulnerable populations, like pregnant women and young children (who may also have their nails painted on occasion).   The toxicity of nail polish is very real and American women spend over $768 million a year on nail polish, and nail products represent the strongest and fastest-growing segment of the beauty industry.

It is fun to experiment with new cosmetics or indulge yourself in heavenly pampering routines, but, it is best to be proactive when it comes to using these items to thwart the risk of introducing harmful chemicals to your system.