Many of us invest in cosmetics to look and feel a certain way. Although using these products in moderation is considerably safe, excessive usage might do more harm than good. This is due to the fact that most of these products may contain chemicals that are harmful to your health. Chemicals in cosmetics and makeup have been found to cause skin allergies, acne, headaches, eye-infections, hair problems, infertility, and cancer. Here is a list of some of the chemicals to watch out for before buying a product.
1. Chemicals In Fragrances
Most cosmetic products contain fragrance as an added ingredient. These products not only include perfumes and colognes but also moisturizers, conditioners, and shampoos. According to to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Some components of fragrance formulas may have a potential to cause allergic reactions or sensitivities for some people.”
Several studies have found that exposure to phthalates cause reproductive disabilities in men. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports, “that there wasn’t a sound, scientific basis to support taking regulatory action against cosmetics containing phthalates.” The FDA has also found that the use of phthalates in cosmetics has considerably reduced over the years.
Triclosan is a component commonly found in antibacterial products. Some studies have shown that triclosan and triclocarban may kill weak bacteria but may cause increased resistance among stronger varieties of bacteria. It has also been found that it increases the potency of the thyroid hormone. Experiments conducted of female rats have shown that these chemicals may cause hormonal changes in women. The FDA on 2nd September 2016 issued a rule establishing that companies were no longer allowed to market over the counter products that contained these ingredients. Although many big brands have stopped using the chemical after this, the rule does not apply to consumer sanitizers and wipes.
Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetics to prevent bacterial growth. There have been numerous claims that parabens may increase risk of breast cancer and cause other health problems. The FDA states that further research has to be conducted. The FDA is also looking into the health risks that may occur in the event that parabens are not used in cosmetics.
Toluene is used as a solvent in cosmetic products especially in nail care products. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “ High levels of toluene exposure during pregnancy, such as those associated with solvent abuse, may lead to retardation of mental abilities and growth in children. Other health effects of potential concern may include immune, kidney, liver, and reproductive effects.” But the FDA ensures that “any reported adverse effects occurred only at levels many times higher than those observed when people used nail polish, and that the number of nail products containing toluene had dropped sharply.”
6. Alpha Hydroxy Acids
AHA is a component in used in some skin care products especially in exfoliates. According to the FDA, they “received a total of 114 adverse dermatologic experience reports for AHA-containing skin care products between 1992 and February 2004, with the maximum number in 1994. The frequency of such reports for skin exfoliating products that contain AHAs has been considerably lower in subsequent years.”
DEA is used in many cosmetic products and has been found to contain carcinogens. According to information published by the National Toxicology Program, they “found an association between the topical application of DEA and certain DEA-related ingredients and cancer in laboratory animals. For the DEA-related ingredients, the NTP study suggests that the carcinogenic response is linked to possible residual levels of DEA. The NTP study did not establish a link between DEA and the risk of cancer in humans.”