Cosmetic Ingredients: What You Don't Know Will Hurt You

    (BlackDoctor.org) — By now you have probably heard about checking the ingredient labels on your cosmetics. Considering that your list of pending concerns is probably miles long already and the idea of death from lip gloss or lotions may sound rather far-fetched, you may be wondering if all of the hype is really necessary.

    Unfortunately, it is. Chances are, if you were familiar with many of the ingredients commonly in cosmetic and beauty products, you wouldn’t dare apply them to your hair, skin, and nails.

    Cosmetics: What You Don’t Know Can & Will Hurt You

    The American beauty and cosmetics scene is awash with products that have no business on or near peoples’ skin. They are often plagued with ingredients such as heavy metals and industrial chemicals. Many of the ingredients in your cosmetics are government regulated when it comes to employee handling and proper disposal. Failure to adhere to these regulations could result in fines, jail time, and civil suits. Due to the serious threats they pose, many of the ingredients that you can find widely available here have been banned from cosmetics elsewhere in the world. Yet, American consumers are free to slather them on their faces and bodies are not even given a hint of the risks that they face.

    You probably wouldn’t gnaw on your shower curtain or sip your floor cleaner. But, since some of the same chemicals are in the products that you use, consider the likelihood of you consuming toxic chemicals. How often do you eat or drink with lip moisturizer or lip stick on? How many times do you munch on finger foods or eat sandwiches with hands that have been covered with lotions or wrists that you have sprayed with fragrances. And even if you never directly consumed these items, remember that the skin is a porous organ through which chemicals can absorb and find their way into your bloodstream and then to your organs.

    Problems that are linked to toxic cosmetic and beauty products range from minor to severe. Some lead to irritation or redness that can easily be mistaken for other issues such as seasonal allergies. Individuals may develop contact dermatitis and eczema, or even a condition as serious as respiratory conditions or leukemia.

    Consider This…

    Endocrine Disruptors. The endocrine system is composed of glands, hormones, and receptors, which make translation of the hormones’ instructions possible. This system regulates all biological processes throughout life. Certain chemicals can interfere and cause the body to act abnormally, resulting male and female fertility problems, abnormal sexual development and impaired brain and nervous functioning. Items found in cosmetics that pose these risks include:

    • Bisphenol-A (BPA)
    • Phthalates
    • Parabens
    • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

    Carcinogens. Carcinogens are ingredients that can incite or cause cancer. African-American women should be especially concerned since this disease is a leading cause of death among them. Furthermore, a broad range of ingredients fall into this category, such as:

    • Toluene
    • Formaldehyde
    • Mercury
    • Coal Tar
    • Lead Acetate

    These are merely two groups of dangerous ingredients and just a handful of the items in them. These toxins and many, many more can be found in all types of facial cosmetics, makeup removers, nail polishes, shampoos and conditioners, hair sprays, lotions, perfumes, and anti-dandruff treatments. Basically, any category of cosmetic or beauty products that is used topically can potentially contain dangerous ingredients.

    What Can You Do?

    A single article, or even two, will not provide sufficient space to list every ingredient you should avoid. Those outlined above are good starting points and it is wise to stay abreast of cosmetic trends. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid products with a long list of unidentifiable ingredients. Many cosmetic companies have websites where you can review their product labels before you make purchases. There are also websites that index the items that are used by cosmetic companies and provide consumers with a wealth of useful information. You can use these resources for cross referencing so you can be in the know.

    Though it will take some time and effort to learn what to avoid, it is worth it. Your body is not the proper place to conduct a chemistry experiment and that is essentially what many companies are asking you to do.

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