We all know what cosmetics are and how inevitable it is to use them: if a man uses, on average, 6 cosmetic products per day, in the case of women this number rises to 12 cosmetic products.
Very common in our body hygiene and beauty routines, these cosmetics are found everywhere, from the make-up or deodorant we use at home, to all products found in the hairdresser in our neighborhood (at a professional level).
This is undoubtedly a very attractive market sector for new companies: there are hundreds of millions of consumers and an exorbitant market value - according to Orbis Research and Reuters, it is estimated that it will reach 805 in 2023 billion dollars.
There are many brands, with more and more products, variants, and offers. However, there are few cosmetic brands that really care about what their activity does, both in terms of the environment and human health.
As they are produced, distributed, and sold, these are the two areas in which the cosmetics industry is most damaging :
- Harmful to the environment, with the use of chemicals, much non-reusable plastic packaging and the use of microplastics in its composition - one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems and human health;
- Harmful to the health of those who use them, with brands promoting the need and excessive use of these cosmetics while the products themselves are composed of dangerous substances, often imperceptible to those who read them on the labels.
How can cosmetics be harmful to health?
The fact that some cosmetics have these dangerous ingredients in their composition, absorbed very quickly by the body, makes them more unsafe for our health than they should be.
The major brands, on the other hand, defend themselves by stating that the level of toxicity is so small that these components, in contact with the human body, become harmless.
However, this small level of toxicity multiplied by each of the cosmetic products we use already leaves the definition of “harmless” much more gray and debatable.
What effects can these cosmetics cause? If some of these chemicals end upbringing risks to our well-being, causing irritation, eczema, allergies, or photosensitivity, the big problems are much deeper than these.
The real risks are those that are not immediately detected - this continuous absorption of dangerous substances is already beginning to be associated with the risk of hormonal cancers, fertility problems, chronic diseases, or an increase in behavioral problems.
But why chemicals in cosmetics?
It is not that they are poisoning us “on purpose”. What is happening is that, at the beginning of the cosmetics industry, chemical substances made a very significant difference and boosted the sector exponentially.
What's the big deal? Although some risks have started to be associated with the components used in each of these cosmetic products, the formulas have remained practically the same since the beginning.
These dangerous ingredients are often responsible for increased durability, creating foam, elasticity, adding specific odors, or giving color to certain cosmetic products - some of these characteristics that are easily dispensable by the average consumer.
5 ingredients you should avoid now in your cosmetics
Although very associated with plastic bottles - these are largely responsible for softening plastics, increasing their durability and flexibility - phthalates also had (and still have) a very strong presence in common cosmetics.
They are divided into low molecular weight and high weight phthalates and are toxic potentials for the reproductive system.
Studies have been carried out that relate exposure to phthalates during pregnancy or during childhood to respiratory problems ( asthma and allergy ) and hormonal changes in males.
Often described on labels as “fragrance” or “perfume”, they are mostly found in varnishes, shower gel, sprays, or deodorants.
Because they have antifungal and antibacterial properties, these chemical compounds are used as preservatives in many common cosmetics.
However, based on animal studies and tests, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified formaldehyde as carcinogens by inhalation, allergic, and irritating to the skin.
Although it is still possible to find in some varnishes, straighteners, and hair bleaches, these have been replaced by parabens in recent years.
Para Hydroxybenzoate (official name), despite having characteristics similar to those of formaldehyde and being one of the alternatives to their use, has been identified as a potentially carcinogenic agent, which may cause allergies and hormonal disorders - however, further studies are expected to be published. that confirm these effects.
These "possibly" dangerous substances can be found in deodorants, moisturizers, hair products, makeup, shower gel, toothpaste, and varnishes.
Mostly used as an antiperspirant, it is very associated with irritations, spots, and lesions in the skin tissues, especially in more sensitive skins and when used in large quantities.
Although there are already some studies that link it to the risk of breast cancer, the FDA - US Food and Drug Administration - still does not consider it carcinogenic (causing cancer).
Aluminum Chloride can be found in common deodorants, especially in antiperspirants
This potentially dangerous ingredient can have negative effects on the central nervous system, contribute to dizziness, nausea, memory loss, and, in the case of continuous contact with pregnant women, affect the development of the fetus.
This chemical substance is essentially found in varnishes.
So, what can you do?
Despite the risks and negative effects of these 5 substances on animals, the scientific community is not 100% in agreement about the effects of these dangerous ingredients on humans.
The subject is controversial and very complex, with studies that contradict each other - many with “supposed” interests behind them, with sponsors focused on making these products as marketable as possible.
To protect yourself, it is important to have a proactive attitude towards the theme:
- Pay attention to the theme and meet the standards recommended by the European Union;
- Read the labels of cosmetic products carefully;
- Opt for products with fewer ingredients and biological certificates (these contain less toxic substances);
- Do not use cosmetic products after the expiration date;
- See if the products you want to buy have been dermatologically tested and have potential allergens in their composition.
In addition to these, there are several other ingredients that have harmful actions to health and that we recommend to avoid, whenever possible. For this reason, it is safe to use the natural ingredient made beauty products and cleansing & toning products to clean your skin properly and healthily. These products don’t contain any toxic elements that are why there is no threat to human health and the environment.