There are a number of reasons you should be careful when purchasing conventional beauty products. The United States has virtually no regulations controlling what goes into beauty products. The ad below, put out by the Safe Cosmetics Environmental Working Group, portrays the scary reality of this fact. Cosmetic companies can use everything from harmless unnecessary ingredients to dangerous chemical preservatives and hidden toxic ingredients in their products.
Most regular beauty products contain unnecessary additives. The cosmetic companies have found ways to increase profits by adding cheap “fillers” to the pure active ingredients. Other ingredients are added to enhance the texture of the product and to change the color or smell. A number of these unnecessary ingredients in conventional beauty products are the cause of skin irritation, clogged pores and breakouts. Most women (and men) who seem to have problem skin clear up after they switch from conventional beauty products to products that do not contain all of the fillers and preservatives.
A large number of beauty products on the market are also formulated to last on retailers’ shelves for years. In order to achieve this expansive shelf life, strong preservatives (usually parabens) are added to the products’ formula. Pathologists have found intact parabens in breast tumors extracted from women with breast cancer.
The ingredient “fragrance” is a catch-all for cosmetic companies. Under trade secret law, the term fragrance can encompass up to 200 individual ingredients that don’t have to be listed on the label. Even preservatives can be hidden under “fragrance” and the product would be considered preservative-free. Some of the hidden ingredients are harmless, but innocent customers are unaware that, if fragrance is used in a product, dangerous ingredients such as phthalates will not be listed.
Phthalates are chemicals known to stabilize fragrances so they evaporate slowly and the smell lingers longer; they are also used to make plastics flexible. The Feb. 2008 Journal of Pediatrics found phthalates in the urine in diapers of children who used shampoos, lotions and powders containing these chemicals. Phthalates, restricted in California and banned in Europe, are also linked to reduction of semen quality, shortened pregnancies and reproductive defects (i.e. underdeveloped genitalia in baby boys and early puberty in girls), lung liver & kidney disease. If a product has fragrance listed as an ingredient, it should not claim to be non-toxic or FREE of phthalates, parabens, or preservatives.