Chemicals in cosmetics- The truth | Buddhica
- Jan 25, 2019
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Chemicals in cosmetics have been one of the most popular topics of discussions in the recent few years. But why this sudden outrage and why only a few of us are involved in this debate? Why is it important to know about these chemicals and what you should see on the label before buying something? I will cover all these things in this blog.
Chemicals in cosmetics- Sudden outrage
There is a general notion that products are approved by some agency like FDA before entering the market. However, you must know that FDA takes a reactive approach, i.e., it will ban something only when a chemical is found to be harmful.
In the recent few years, there has been a rise in the number of people opting for natural, plant-based, cruelty-free or organic labels.Developed countries are seeing an exponential increase in DIYers as well.
Lately, FDA has banned a lot of chemicals in cosmetics in developed countries. FDA had banned almost 1300 chemicals in Europe itself and 30 in the USA. However, developing countries have become the dumping ground of these chemicals for big companies.
Why all the fuss about chemicals in cosmetics?
It is funny and painful at the same time to see the lack of knowledge around this budding issue. The people who are concerned about pollution and the lack of clean air in countries like India are the ones who are the biggest consumers of mass-produced cosmetics loaded with chemicals.
With all the technology, all the research, and dermatologically safe products, the number of skin related disorders seem to be on the rise. There is an increase in the number of skin allergies and eczema in the USA with about 31.7 million patients of dermatitis only.
The average woman uses 12 products/day exposing themselves to over 168 ingredients (absorbing ~2kg of chemicals a year!!!); a man goes through 6 products with 85 ingredients; a child is exposed to 5 products with 61 ingredients; a teenage girl is exposed to an about 17 products with over 230 different ingredients every day (and if you see, autoimmune diseases are on the rise).
Why be scared of them anyway?
Kim Kardashian West on December 24, 2018, confirmed about battling with psoriasis. A lot of other stars have reported problems like lupus. Why, after all the fancy and the best medical treatments, are they still suffering? Chemicals in the cosmetic might be blamed.
The celebrities are the most exposed of all to these chemically enhanced cosmetics and it is terrible to see how our inspirations are suffering from incurable diseases.
Since ancient times, humans have used fats for beautifying their skin. The early man started using animal and plant fats to keep away dry skin. It was after billion years of evolution, the tests, the trials, the failures that we have the knowledge of oils and fats for skincare.
But the last 100 years have changed the face of all the historical knowledge gathered in these years. In these 100 years, humans have developed synthetic materials in the lab which are cheap, have a very long shelf life and can be sold to people for a lot of money.
One of the examples is mineral oil. Today mineral oil is used in all kinds of skincare products. Baby oil is one of them. Mineral oil is the by-product of the petroleum industry and is a very cheap product. Mildly refined mineral oil is a known carcinogen.
Facts and Myths about chemicals in cosmetics
1. Most of the creams and lotions contain 75% water, 15%-20% chemicals, and only 10%-5% active ingredients(which lose their potency in the presence of chemicals). So you are technically spending all your money on a tube of water and chemicals.
2. Another marketing gimmick to promote products is using phrases like “sulfate-free”, “paraben-free”, “vegan” and “sustainable” but does not entail the complete list of ingredients. There are some brands that offer good products though.
3. Don’t buy something when you see only key ingredients. The ingredient Labels are allowed to be misleading and incomplete.
4. These chemicals have been scientifically proven to be linked to cancer, endocrine/hormonal disease, and thyroid problems. If you look around, you will see the increased cases of PCOS and unwanted hair growth on the face.
5. The terms “hypoallergenic” and “noncomedogenic” are essentially marketing words with very little meaning. Oils have been used according to regional preferences over millions of years and suddenly after the introduction of cold creams, these oils become comedogenic or something that clogs your pores.
6. The hair serum that you use on your hair is nothing but a coat of plastic. If you read the ingredients, these hair serums contain silicone which creates a temporary coating of softness and silkiness. The long term results are dull, dry and damaged hair.
Chemicals in cosmetics you shouldn’t be using at all
2. Disodium- EDTA
3. Ethyl acetate: A flammable liquid used in paint remover
4. Formaldehyde and releasers: A colorless gas used as a preservative Some formaldehyde releasers include: DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium-15, Bronopol, etc.
5. Fragrance (synthetic): may contain as many as 200 undeclared ingredients. Only specified that it’s derived from essential oils.
6. Grapefruit Seed Extract: a Chemically altered form of grapefruit seed
7. Parabens (including Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, and Ethylparaben): Estrogenic preservatives used to extend shelf life. 90% of all cosmetics contain parabens.
8. Hydroquinone: Lightning compound
10. Sodium/ammonium Laureth/Laurel Sulfate and Polysorbate: used as cleansing agents.
11. Nitrite: Can react with other ingredients to form nitrosamine, a carcinogen.
12. Petrochemicals(propylene glycol): ingredients derived from petroleum.
13. Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate): used as solvents helping product cling to hair, nails, or skin.
14. Synthetic dyes: Make cosmetics in appealing colors
15. Sulfates (sodium lauryl and sodium laureth): Cheap and harsh detergents
16. TEA, MEA, DEA: Ammonia compounds used as foaming agents
18. Ureas(Diazolidinyl Urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or DMDM hydantoin)
Nature has a way of creating things and if you look around everything is in perfect order. The oceans, the mountains, the trees, the animals, even a small butterfly has an amazing symmetry of design and colors. The solution to all problems lies here on the Earth. Then why create something that is harmful to your own existence and that of others.?
“If something is poisonous to the environment and organisms, it is a poison for you too, no matter how many claims.”
Say no to chemicals and yes to natural skincare.