Tips on buying safe cosmetics and makeup products

Cosmetics been created in order to enhance women’s beauty and health, but during the last few years, doubts have appeared concerning some of the chemical substances used in cosmetics and beauty products. At the moment there are many scientific studies attempting to analyze these chemicals and their effect on our health, but while we’re still waiting for these results, it’s best that we find out more about these substances and how we can avoid them.

Hair coloring products
An American study has demonstrated that hair coloring every month for 15 years triples the risk of bladder cancer. Another study, conducted in Denmark during a period of 30 years, has revealed a shocking thing: the occurence of cancer between people who work in hair salons is twice as large than in the rest of the population.

The main culprits for this are the aromatic amines, especially the 2.5-toluendiamine, but also solvents like butoxy-ethanol and butoxy-diglycol. In 2006, the European Commission has banned 22 coloring substances from being used in hair salons.

Tips: There are natural products for coloring your hair, and an increasing number of hair salons are using them. Don’t wash your hair before dying it: the sebum protects the scalp. Choose light colors because it seems like the dark ones are the most noxious.

In the nineties, an American study stirred quite a controversy after it discovered that aluminium salts in deodorants penetrate the shaved armpit skin are linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2004, a British study discovered traces of parabens (antimicrobial agents derived from toluene, commonly used in beauty products, whose function is similar to that of estrogens and which could perturb normal cellular functions) in the cancerous breast tumors of British women.

Tips: Avoid these two compounds in all beauty products (on the label they are usually mentioned as “aluminium” and “paraben”, but sometimes they are only identified by a number preceded by “Cas”: Cas 94-18-8). The only safe natural compound found in antiperspirants is ammonium alum, the primary ingredient in deodorant crystals.

Sunscreen lotions
Researches from the Zurich Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology advise caution regarding the chemical UV filters contained in most of sunscreen lotions. These chemicals are estrogens and can be considered endocrine disrupters (substances that fool the body into believing they are natural hormones, causing reproductive problems). The tested compounds are: Homosalate (Hms), 4-Methlbenzylidene camphor (4-Mbc), Octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA), Octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC) and Benzophenone-3 (Bp-3).

Tips: Only use chemical-free and natural sunscreens containing mineral filters (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide).

Several scientific studies suggest that synthetic musk is absorbed through the skin and can disrupt the endocryne system. It was also found that nitrate musks are safe, while polycyclic musks (galaxolide and tonalide) are still being investigated.
Tips: Stay away from fragrances that contain ftalates (substances used to prolong the life of perfumes). Watch out for these chemicals, as even children perfumes are using them!!

Creams and Shampoos
Soaps, face and body creams, shampoos, shower gels and other skin care and shaving products appear to be true cocktails of indesirable substances. Watch out for certain chemicals (eDTA, ethoxydiglycol, phenoxyethanol, antioxidants Bha and Bht – toxic for the liver), paraffin mineral oils, silicones and siloxans, emulsifiers and tensioactives (whose names begin with Peg or Ppg).

Tips: Use natural active principles based on fumaric acid (fruits), oleic acid (oils), tannic acid (leaves), beeswax, honey, algae, vitamin E, chamomile. Choose a toothpaste that doesn’t contain the toxic chemical Triclosan.

Makeup is the heaven of synthetic colors. Azoic colorants, found in lipstick and eyeshadow (and also hair dyes) are the most toxic. They can be identified on the labels by the letters CI followed by a number (CI 12085).

Tips: Avoid formaldehyde, a carcinogen substance found in nail polish.

Last updated on Feb 14th, 2009 and filed under Health Tips, Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Tips on buying safe cosmetics and makeup products”

  1. Makeup says:

    i didn’t know that casual makeup products we use everyday can be so harmful.

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