Contributor Naomi Shaw has a very timely article on how to find cosmetics that are safe for you to use and what ingredients to check out! It’s timely because Natural Products Expo West is happening right now in Anaheim, California. Natural Products Expo West is the world’s largest exposition/trade show/conference for natural products (in all categories from food to cosmetics, supplements to packaging) and has vendors as well as buyers from around the globe who attend this fabulous show. I have been there since Wednesday checking out new products and new brands, talking to vendors about what makes their products so different!
Finding Healthy Cosmetics: Safety and Ingredients!
by Naomi Shaw
According to this report, the market for global cosmetics will value approximately $863 billion by the year 2024. As the popularity of cosmetics arises, the increase of variety used per person begins to rise too. Unfortunately, there is a multitude of products and brands that care more about how much they are selling rather than what they are selling. The result is that there are several types of makeup, lotions, shampoos, and so forth that have possibly dangerous chemicals in them that you have to be aware of.
Before you spray on, rub in, or apply any of your cosmetics, read on to see if they’re safe to use. You might be surprised what some of those applicators have in store for you.
It’s important to know the dangerous chemicals you may be applying directly to your face. Many of these chemicals can cause immediate damage at the moment they touch your skin. Products with sodium lauryl sulfate, polyethylene/PEGs, and fragrances tend to cause skin irritation, rashes, and more.
Additionally, there are ingredients that can cause long term damage that you should be aware of coal tar, parabens, formaldehyde, and products made out of petroleum are all known carcinogens that can shorten your lifespan. Other chemicals, like BHA, can cause damage to your liver even though it is applied in exfoliants and perfume. You can’t ever be too careful with perfumes, they can cause severe damage to your liver.
Some poisonous cosmetics have been released with lead, arsenic, cadmium, and hydroquinone and can affect your kidneys or your other organs, even if you don’t notice any change, making it dire that you always read and ingredients list. If you are ever unsure, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a wonderful resource that you can use to see things like if an ingredient on your face mask will cause cancer.
Organic vs Natural
A common misconception is that “organic” ingredients always mean natural. In truth, organic means a product has the presence of carbon while inorganic means it doesn’t. This type of misunderstanding can lead you to believe a product is organic, while it is still made of synthetic and manufactured products. Common synthetics that you can find are plastics and rubbers which can be put into your cosmetics while still being labeled as “organic”.
Another wide-spread fallacy is that natural is synonymous with healthy. A simple and extreme example would be if I sold an all-natural supplement made out of stone fruit extract. It sounds appealing and marketable but without looking for more information, you wouldn’t realize that the extract could be (or contain) cyanide. In cosmetics, the term natural can be very distracting when cosmetics label themselves as natural and then cause an allergic reaction to the natural substance. Part of the overarching issue is that the FDA does not have authority on a product before it goes to market, creating a perfect opportunity to bring hazardous chemicals to the public.
Fragrances also take advantage of a loophole in American law stating a product can go to market without having to disclaim their ingredients. Research to see what fragrances may contain has shown that they can carry toxic chemicals as well as irritants; acetone, benzyl alcohol, methylene chloride, and ethanol to name a few. Some even contain chemicals like phthalates, which is an endocrine disruptor that can cause a baby to lose IQ points while still in the womb.
Since many fragrance ingredients go unlisted, there can be dangerous products that can be labeled natural while still being toxic to the human body. You never know what the long term effects of fragrances may be.
Essential oils, although highly used, can be harmful when misused. The issue is that they are unregulated until they cause harm. Just like other cosmetics, only once an incident has occurred, will that product require scrutiny. This means that you might rub in some very harshly treated essential oils and ruin your skin before that specific oil is disavowed by the FDA. Not to mention, that misusing essential oils may also require you to take a trip to the poison control.
Ultimately, unsafe cosmetics are not worth risk the risk of your health. You’re always going to be more important than the product. The person that’s going to look out for you when it comes to what you apply is yourself. So, if you’re ever concerned about what’s in your daily products, do your due diligence and research!
Bio of Naomi Shaw:
Naomi Shaw is a full-time freelance writer who balances motherhood and entrepreneurship. Living in Southern California with her husband and three children, Naomi writes on all topics with a family and health. She transitioned from stay-at-home mom to freelance journalist to share her lifestyle passion with the world.
Follow Naomi Shaw on these social platforms:
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102994549913620000747/posts
Thanks to Naomi Shaw for this insightful article that will have you checking out ingredient lists on virtually every single cosmetic and body care product you have.
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