Sales of organic skin care products and natural skincare products are on an all time high. As consumers are increasingly more educated on beneficial natural treatments and rejecting chemical-based skin care products. To cater to this increasing audience, skin care manufacturers are innovating and producing new products every day. Read more
- Bisphenol-A (Bis-fen-ol) - Bisphenol A (BPA) is a hormone-mimicking chemical used in polycarbonate plastic resins, epoxy resins, and other products. It is most commonly used in baby bottles or any type of hard shatterproof plastic containers. It is also found in the lining of canned goods, plastic wrap and other household plastics. Bisphenol has estrogenic properties which, in animal tests has shown to cause a bevy of health problems such as an increase in prostate and breast cancer, uro-genital abnormalities in male babies, a decline in semen quality in men, early onset of puberty in girls, metabolic disorders including insulin-resistant (Type 2) diabetes and obesity and neurobehavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Research is showing that when plastic containers, mostly those used to hold liquids and foods, are leeching Bisphenol into the foods and liquids they are holding. Heating food and liquids with these plastics is shown to increase the leeching of this contaminate.
- Phthalates (pronounced THA-lates) are a common class of chemicals used in many household products and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic to improve flexibility, and in cosmetics to bind fragrance to the product. Different types of phthalates include diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), di-isononyl phthalate (DINP), di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP), and many others. Global phthalate production is estimated at 11 billion pounds per year. It is thought that of the adverse health effects of phthalates include: Early puberty in girls, Premature delivery, Impaired sperm quality and sperm damage in men, Genital defects and reduced testosterone production in boys, Genital defects and testicular cancer. (Source: Environmental California)
- Parabens - Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bacteriocidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, cleansing gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives. Animal experiments have shown that parabens have weak estrogenic activity therefore sending up a flag with researchers. In one controversial study parabens were found in breast tumors. This study has fueled the belief that parabens in underarm deodorants or other cosmetics migrated into the breast tissue and contributed to the development of the tumors. The cosmetic industry holds steady that parabens are safe for general population use, but its hormone mimicking properties have proven enough of a “what if” that consumers are opting now for paraben-free products and cosmetics.
- 1,4 Dioxane - Possible carcinogen. 1,4-Dioxane is primarily used in solvent applications for manufacturing; however, it is also found in fumigants and automotive coolant. Additionally, the chemical is also used as a foaming agent and appears as an accidental byproduct of the ethoxylation process in cosmetics manufacturing. It may contaminate cosmetics and personal care products such as deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes and mouthwashes. 1,4-dioxane is a known eye and respiratory tract irritant. It is suspected of causing damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. Dioxane is classified by the IARC as a Group 2B carcinogen: possibly carcinogenic to humans due to the fact that it is a known carcinogen in animals.
- Propylene Glycol - Propylene glycol is a thickening/filling agent derived from glycerin and is in everything from store bought hair dyes to many of your natural deodorants. Propylene glycol has been determined as “generally safe for use” by the FDA for both food and cosmetic use, yet it raises your risk of cancer, carries toxins that affect reproduction, is a known allergen and eye irritant and can also be toxic to your immune system.
- PEG’s - (also known as Polyethylene Glycol) - Polyethylene glycol is a family of synthetic chemicals that function in cosmetic formulations as surfactants, cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners, and humectants. PEG’s are thought to increase cancer risks, including women’s risk of breast cancer. PEG compounds often contain small amounts of ethylene oxide. According to experimental results reported on in the National Toxicology Program’s Eighth Annual Report on Carcinogens, ethylene oxide increases the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer. PEG compounds are routinely contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane. Source: Aubrey Organics Article.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - PVC is one of the most widely used plastics, making up everything from shower curtains, water pipes, electrical wire, signs and toys. It is said that PVC can release numerous toxins during its lifetime and breakdown including mercury, dioxins, and phthalates. Not to mention, this and other plastic are filling up landfills at an alarming and bulky rate. Recently, some large chain stores including target and Wal-Mart have vowed to reduce the use of PVC in packaging and urge their suppliers to do the same.
- Oxybenzone - Used significantly in sunscreens. Associated with photoallergic reactions. This chemical absorbs through the skin in significant amounts. It contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans according to Centers for Disease Control research. Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor which can affect the nervous system, has been linked to cancer in some laboratory studies, and creates free-radicals when exposed to the sun which are harmful.
The market today is flooded with beauty products. Everywhere you look, another new product is on the shelf (or on the website). So, how does one choose which is the best product for them? If you are inclined to treat your skin naturally-meaning without harsh chemicals-then organic or natural skin care may be the best for you. Not only do these products help your skin in a more balanced, natural way, they are also much less harmful to yourself and the environment. Read more
Much has changed in the world of cosmetics and beauty products in the last 10 years. Scientific research has exponentially grown to include antioxidants, hypoallergenic ingredients, the way your skin ages and even how it wrinkles. Consumers want to know how to best heal their skin, what hormones and antibiotics are in the products they buy, and what toxins are they ingesting unaware. At the same time, they want to know how to get rid of acne and what sunscreen won’t make their skin break out. It’s a lot of information to digest in itself but the health and cosmetic industry is more than willing to provide the answers. Question is, are they the right answers?
Beauty is a $40 billion a year industry. As cosmetic dermatology advances and plastic surgery procedures are more prolific than ever, the range of options has become almost overwhelming and the potential risks even more prevalent and difficult to assess. While the cosmetic and health industry has made amazing strides in understanding how our skins reacts to certain chemicals and why we wrinkle, much has sadly remained the same when it comes to poor formulations, unsubstantiated claims, and products that actually harm the skin instead of heal.
Many of us have bought into the hype and are handing over hard-earned dollars for astronomically expensive products that turn out to do little more than their inexpensive drugstore counterparts. These products are generally priced with nothing more than pure profit in mind while they seduce consumers into believing that “more expensive means better.” Of course, this is not always the case.
If you care what products go into your skin and on your face, if you care how much money you spend on advertising or on products that actually work, then keep reading. You could potentially save thousands of dollars on your health and skin care if you know what to look for.
Granted, not ALL companies are making claims they can’t back up and be assured, there ARE wonderful products out there that do exactly what they are designed to do. You just need to be an educated consumer in order to sort through the hodgepodge being offered.
One the most shocking aspects of the cosmetic industry, is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require cosmetic companies to prove their claims. [Source: Office of Cosmetics and Colors Fact Sheet, February 1995]. Basically, that means cosmetic companies can say anything they want about their products and it’s ingredients without any repercussions.
The only thing the FDA does stipulate is that cosmetic claims don’t state they can provide a “permanent change in the skin.” As long as they say it ‘refines your pores, ‘reduces wrinkles’ or ‘minimizes the appearance of lines’, there is no harm. Of course, there are a million ways to sell a product to a consumer, convincing them the product’s results are permanent without convincing the FDA you said so. If I am advertising a cosmetic, as long as I use phrases like, “appears to,” looks like” and “may” I can avoid the Federal Trade Commissions’ truth in advertising regulations as well.
The second most popular sales tactic is to create” studies” that show one products benefits over another for instance. This is pretty easy to do. If any of you ever took a statistics course, you will understand that data can be manipulated to say whatever you want it to, provided the set of rules are right.
Slick salesmen and advertising that ‘bends the truth are nothing new. But if you want to be an educated consumer, you need to be aware of the ways you can be manipulated and how easy it can be to ‘see results’ in your face creams or cosmetics where there are really none because you believe the hype.