Harmful Substances in Cosmetics:
Did you know that over 60% of what you put on your skin, the largest organ on your body gets absorbed into your blood stream? And unlike your kidneys and liver that act as your body’s filter, the skin is all on its own. 95% of the chemicals in most commercial cosmetics and personal care products are made from harmful substances. This is because it appeals more to the eyes of the consumers and also would sell real fast.
It is important to check the ingredients listed on cosmetic and personal care products before you buy. Quite a number of the so called ingredients are harmful and may rank among causes of skin cancer and few other health problems.
Below are some of the ingredients to watch out for:
- Parabens: Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products such as deodorants, moisturisers and shampoos. Cornell University reports that a high lifelong exposure to oestrogen can increase breast cancer risk. Oestrogen, and synthetic chemicals that act like oestrogen, play a role in stimulating the division of breast cells and affect other hormones that stimulate breast cell division. Your body does not easily break down synthetic oestrogen, and it can accumulate in fat cells, including breast tissue.
- DEA, cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA (Related chemicals: MEA and TEA): are hormone-disrupting chemicals known to form nitrates and nitrosamines, often in conjunction with other chemicals present in a product, e.g. Cocamide DEA, or Lauramide DEA. They are almost always in products that foam: bubble bath, body wash, shampoo, soap, facial cleanser. Roberta Baskin, an investigative reporter for WJLA-TV, says studies confirm that “It (DEA) is in hundreds of cosmetic products but it does something more than make soap bubbles. An American government study says that DEA and DEA-based detergents have been shown to greatly increase the risk of cancer, especially liver and kidney cancer.
- Coal Tar Dyes: These dyes are used in foods, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, textiles, cosmetics, and personal care products like hair dyes, shampoos, and deodorants. There’s also evidence that artificial colours increase hyperactivity, ADHD and learning difficulties in children. Other studies have implicated coal tars in lung and skin cancers (though a direct relationship remains unproved).
- Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives: Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) are used in many personal care products particularly in shampoos and liquid baby soaps. These chemicals, which help prevent microbes from growing in water-based products, can be absorbed through the skin and have been linked to cancer and allergic skin reactions.
- Synthetic fragrances and Parfum: Studies have shown that several types of synthetics not only may disrupt hormones, but traces have been found in fat tissue, breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood, both fresh and marine water samples, air, wastewater and sludge. Pour le Monde does not use any synthetics or synthetic musk in their fragrances.
- Petrolatum: Petrolatum, commonly known as petroleum jelly, is a by-product of petroleum. Petrolatum is a soft paraffin or wax mixture sold as a topical skin ointment. It is acknowledged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an approved over-the-counter skin protectant and is used in the manufacturing of cosmetic skin care. However the side effects of petrolatum include finding the petroleum by-product in breast tumours, suffocation of the skin, premature ageing and aggravated acne.
- Mineral Oil: Most harmful when poorly refined, by-product of petroleum, that’s used in baby oil, moisturisers, styling gels, it creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.
- Siloxanes (Cyclomethicone and ingredients ending in “siloxane” (e.g., cyclotetrasiloxane): These silicone-based compounds are used in cosmetics to soften, smoothen, and moisten. They make hair products dry more quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily. They are also used extensively in moisturisers and facial treatments. Siloxanes can also be found in medical implants, water-repelling windshield coatings, building sealants and lubricants. They are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bio-accumulate in aquatic organisms. Also, the European Union classifies it as an endocrine disruptor, based on evidence that it interferes with human hormone function and a possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility.
- Triclosan: an ingredient added to certain soaps, cosmetics, clothing, cookware, furniture and toys, to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. Recent studies, however, have shown that triclosan might be hazardous to human health; it might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs and also be harmful to the immune systemBy Victoria Haruna