Believe it or not, many of your most cherished makeup and skincare products may be causing damage to your health. The cosmetics industry is largely self-regulated and can market products without having to approve ingredients with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The ingredients are often tested in terms of short-term effects, meaning companies look for immediate adverse reactions rather than damaging long-term conditions. Even if your skin isn’t showing any signs of distress, some harmful ingredients may cause cancer or alter your hormonal balance.
According to the FDA, the two most important laws about cosmetics marketed in the U.S. are the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA).
The FD&C Act prohibits the marketing of “adulterated and misbranded” cosmetics. A cosmetic is considered adulterated if:
• It contains a poisonous or dangerous substance which makes it harmful to users when used following directions.
• It contains any “filthy, putrid or decomposed” substance.
• It has been prepared or packaged under unsanitary conditions and is therefore contaminated.
• The container is made from a poisonous or dangerous material.
• It contains an unsafe color additive (except for hair dyes, which have more specific conditions).
Misbranded products are improperly labeled or deceptively packaged. If the labeling is wrong or misleading, doesn’t include required information or doesn’t prominently display information, it is subject to regulatory action. This is supposed to make consumers able to make informed decisions about which products they are using, but unfortunately many people fail to read the ingredients on products before they buy them.
In order to make sure you’re not exposing yourself to potentially hazardous ingredients in your makeup and skin care products, avoid using products which list one or more of the following ingredients on the label, according to OrganicBeautyTalk.com.
• Alcohol, Isopropyl. This is a drying and irritating ingredient that takes moisture away from your skin and degenerates your skin’s natural immune barrier, making you more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. It may also promote premature skin aging. It’s made from a petroleum derivative and is found in skin and hair products, fragrance, and antibacterial products. Use a more natural cleanser, like Archipelago Botanicals – Morning Mint Soap, instead.
• DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine). These ingredients are restricted in Europe because of their known carcinogenic effects, but the U.S. has yet to regulate them. The chemicals may disprupt your hormones and can form cancer-causing nitrates in your body.
• Fragrance (Parfum). If a label includes synthetic fragrance, it could represent thousands of separate ingredients used to scent products, many of which are considered toxic or carcinogenic. Fragrance chemicals and ingredients have been associated with respiratory issues, reproductive issues, skin discoloration and even changes in the central nervous system. It’s better to scent products yourself with essential oils, or buy organic products like Janson Beckett – Certified Organic Cleansing Milk.
• Mineral Oil, Petrolatum. This ingredient is a petroleum by-product that coats skin like a plastic, which clogs pores and prevents skin from eliminating toxins. This can cause acne and slow skin development – resulting in premature aging. It dissolves your skin’s natural oil and causes dry skin.
• Parabens. These ingredients often start with prefixes like propyl, isopropyl, butyl, isobutyl and methyl. They are preservatives which mimic estrogen and can disrupt your hormone systems. Many products these days are labeled paraben-free, such as PRIORI – CoffeeBerry Perfecting Minerals Foundation SPF 25 – Perfecting Foundation 4, which is 100 percent natural.
Next time you’re looking to buy beauty products, be sure to search for the ingredients and avoid those which could negatively affect your health!
Image Credit: GoodHousekeeping