Health and Enviornmental Make Up Concerns

September 28, 2010 View all articles in Home

Every day, millions of women use products like eyeliner, mascara, foundation, lipstick, lotion, and perfume (to name but a few). What most of these women don't know is the FDA doesn't have the authority to regulate personal care products, not even those for children. This means many ingredients are unapproved by the FDA, some of which are known or probable carcinogens.

The average level of lead in lipstick is over ten times the amount allowed in candy. Even natural skin care products only require 1 percent natural ingredients in order to be advertised as “natural.” The European Union has banned over one thousand chemicals from being used in cosmetics; the United States has banned a grand total of ten.


Some of the dangers of cosmetics and perfumes include;

  • Lead, mercury, phthalates, coal tar, and parabens are all found in many cosmetics, but they're rarely listed as ingredients.
  • Tests have revealed that, on average, perfumes contain fourteen “secret” ingredients, or ingredients that cannot be found on either the product labels or company websites.
  • Products tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics each contained at least ten ingredients capable of triggering various allergic reactions, such as asthma and contact dermatitis.
  • Potential hormone disruptors were found in the same Campaign for Safe Cosmetics test, with an average of four hormone disruptors per product.


So, what can you do to reduce or remove these harmful substances from your daily routine, without sacrificing your hygiene or beauty?

  • Before buying any cosmetic or toiletry product, read the label and check for the following: phthalates, mercury, toluene, lead, formaldehyde, and petroleum distillates. Also look for parabens, hormone-disrupting preservatives, such as methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparabens, and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). If they are present, put the product back on the shelf.
  • Even just doing a little research about the ingredients will help you better understand what is bad for your health, and you will be more knowledgeable every time you shop.
  • Buy products made from organic ingredients only, as these are far less likely to have harmful effects on your body and health.
  • Skin Deep is a great cosmetic database that rates the health risks of a variety of products on a scale of one to ten, and also goes very in depth about each product. Plug all of your current products into its search engine and see which ones you need to replace.

These are great ways to improve your health, but you might be questioning what they have to do with going green. Most of the products that cause harmful effects on your body are also going down the drain and causing harmful effects on the animals and environments they come into contact with. Therefore, by not purchasing these products, you are helping both yourself and the earth. There is more you can do to protect the earth than simply stop buying things that harm you directly, however. Take a moment and think about how each product will affect the earth before you buy it. Make certain that every product you buy has as little packaging as possible, or is packaged in biodegradable substances. Aside from buying only organic products, reducing the packaging is the best way to protect the environment when buying personal care products.


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