~ by Paula Davis
Don’t be fooled by the pretty packages! Your beauty products may be the cause of your pimples, dimples and wrinkles.
Let’s face it. Most of the cosmetic and beauty products on the shelves today are filled with synthetic, toxic and sometime carcinogenic ingredients. We assume, by the mere fact that they are available on these shelves, that the ingredients must be regulated and tested for safety. When it comes to the multi-billion dollar beauty and cosmetic industry, this assumption can wreak havoc on YOUR health.
Who is Assuring Your Safety?
According to the EWG’s Skin Deep Database, the world’s largest personal care product safety guide, we are making several presumptions about the products we apply to our skin. First, we think the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the products available to us. Believe it or not, the FDA does not review or approve the vast majority of products for safety before they go into the marketplace unless the ingredients are classified as an over-the-counter drug (and even then, the endless stories of hastily approved medications that cause an uproar of side-effect soap operas are enough to make a gal dizzy)!
Some of us would like to think the cosmetic and beauty care product industry polices itself, making sure all ingredients meet a strict standard of safety. Well, this definitely isn’t happening. In more than 30 years, the industry’s safety panel (the Cosmetic Ingredient Review) has assessed fewer than 20 percent of cosmetic ingredients and found only 11 ingredients or chemical groups to be unsafe. And get this: Its findings are not binding on companies, which means the companies using these ingredients in their products are under no obligation to say or do anything about it.
Can we make the assumption the government prohibits dangerous chemicals in personal care products and that companies wouldn’t risk using them? Nope. The cosmetic companies may use any ingredient or raw material except for color additives and a few prohibited substances.
The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry
Did you know more than 500 products sold in the U.S. are actually banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union and more than 100 products contain ingredients considered unsafe by the International Fragrance Association? It’s scary but the list goes on. I bet you also didn’t realize 20% of all personal care products may be contaminated with the cancer-causing impurity 1,4-dioxane, including many children’s products. Almost 60% of all sunscreens contain the potential hormone disruptor oxybenzone and 61% of the lipstick brands tested contain residues of lead. Wow!
So why all the fuss? You, me, our children, family and the friends we love are exposed to all of these ingredients every day. We breathe in sprays and powders, swallow chemicals on the lips and hands, plus we absorb them through the skin. More than 60% of what you apply to your skin is absorbed into your blood stream. We can’t ignore the numerous studies showing evidence of health risk. These chemicals are harmful hormone disruptors, and when absorbed into the body, you’ll encounter elevated risks for sperm damage, feminization of the male reproductive system, and low birth weight in girls.
But What About “Natural” Cosmetics?
Now, what about all the products claiming to be hypoallergenic or natural and organic? Can we assume they are safer? Well, considering most marketing and advertising claims are unregulated and companies are rarely if ever required to back up their claims, I think not. Plus, just because an ingredient is organic doesn’t mean it is necessarily risk-free. Take petrochemicals for instance. They are organic in nature but I wouldn’t want to apply them to my skin!
Lastly, can we assume the FDA would promptly recall any product that injures someone? Here again, the FDA has no authority to require recalls of harmful cosmetics. Even worse, the manufacturers are not required to report cosmetic-related injuries to the agency. The FDA relies on companies to report injuries voluntarily. How often do you think this happens? And federal law allows for companies to leave many chemicals off their labels, including nanomatierals, ingredients considered trade secrets, and components of fragrance.
Considering we spend billions of dollars every year on cosmetic and beauty care products, isn’t it time we start paying attention to the toxic ingredients in them? We used to think cosmetic safety was only a concern for women, but this is not the case any longer. Men are using more and more products every year and our children are also continuously exposed. Don’t you think it’s time to stop this craziness?
For actual case studies and references, please refer to Myths on Cosmetic Safety on the Environmental Work Groups Skin Deep Cosmetic Database website.
Flower Power for Your Beauty Revolution
If you are struggling with acne, wrinkles, saggy skin, bags under the eyes, spots, stains or any other beauty blues, consider the possibility that your toxic beauty products may actually be the cause of your problems, and march your beautiful booty right on over to our be. You page to see what you can do to have truly “naturally” beautiful skin!