Cosmetics and Chemicals
Many cosmetics contain chemicals which could be hazardous to your health. Often, we blindly trust high-end brands, perhaps because their premium rates make us believe that they are safe.
Even brands that display organic and herbal labels may include chemicals by simply working around legal requirements. Reading labels and being informed are life-saving habits for cosmetics consumers.
Chemicals, the Kind of Damage They Can Do
- Every day cosmetics can contain high-risk chemicals that you need to be aware of.
- Lipsticks contain the carcinogen Polymethyl Methacrylate, among others.
- Shampoos contain around 15 chemicals including Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Tetrasodium and Propylene Glycol, known to cause eye damage.
- Even baby shampoo can sometimes include chemicals.
- Make-up favourites like eye shadow, blusher, fake tan and foundation can contain carcinogens.
- Nail varnish contains Phthalates, linked to fertility issues and complications in developing babies.
- Chemicals in deodorants and perfumes can trigger lung and kidney problems while those in body lotion may cause hormonal disruption.
- However, don’t let this put you off buying cosmetics altogether. There are brands which do not harm, and the important thing is to educate yourself.
These tips will help you minimise the potential hazards of chemicals in cosmetics:
- Use fewer commercial products; instead, turn to your kitchen cupboard for beauty concoctions.
- If you can’t do without cosmetics, carry a ready reckoner of hazardous ingredients in your bag to refer to when shopping.
- Certain claims are not defined by law – for instance, did you know that labels stating “fragrance” may be misleading because they are not required to specify any of the chemicals used in them? Read labels and check ingredients against the claims.
Avoid or minimise use of:
- Soaps: They strip the skin of natural oils, increasing your need for products like moisturisers. Use a mild soap.
- Powders: Often used in baby care, when inhaled regularly they can cause lung damage and cancer.
- Dark hair dyes: Known to contain coal tar, a carcinogenic.
- Nail polish: Paint only toenails, in a well-ventilated room. Avoid if you are pregnant.
The importance of being aware and informed cannot be stressed enough. With a little bit of effort, you can still use your favourite cosmetics, without the worry of being harmed.