Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Harmful personal care products

Your medicine cabinet may contain toxic, harmful,
poisonous and even carcinogenic, cancer-causing
ingredients that may be harmful to you.

Jennifer Palmer, founder of Osea International, a marine based
luxury line said that people don’t think about the products they use on
their bodies.

“It is important to be aware of what goes on your body because it is the same as what goes in to your body. It is not just what you breathe and eat but what is in your personal care products that matter,” Palmer said.

Many personal care products contain potentially harmful ingredients, which are made up of very small molecules that may penetrate the skin, enter the blood stream, and build up in the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and tissues.

Palmer said choosing more natural ingredients can be healing such as a natural lipstick that will hold the color for your lips but also contain natural oils and botanicals that are healing.

According to Palmer many of the cosmetics even simple as
a lipstick in which some woman cannot live without contain some of the most harmful ingredients.

“The campaign for safe cosmetics tested 33 lipsticks randomly and they discovered that 61 percent of those lipsticks contained lead. Suddenly, the phrase “dying to be beautiful” had a new twisted meaning,” Palmer said.

Which are According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website, the Food and Drug Administration used similar delay tactics to bury information about phthalates which are substances added to plastics to add flexibility in personal care products. In July 2002, an independent analysis by members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that 72 percent of personal care products tested contained phthalates, a set of industrial chemicals linked to reproductive harm.

The website also said that the FDA conducted its own study of phthalates in personal care products in 2003, but did not release the data to the public. The FDA study was finally published three years later in a scientific journal but remained not available for free to the public. 

Many Body care products such as skin lotion, face creams and soaps contain ingredients such as parabens, polypropylene and polyethylene glycols, sodium laurel and laureth sulfates. All of these ingredients have been shown in rigorous tests to likely be harmful to humans.

Most products are packaged in plastic and can release some of the most harmful toxins into the product and then transferred onto your skin.

“ Our products are packaged in glass, which requires less preservatives, is recyclable and has no polycarbons that are released after packaging,” Palmer said.Many labels on products are not obvious and even after asking several sales people about the labeling; it is common that they don’t even know what is in the products.

Most of us assume that when we buy something from Whole foods where other organic products are sold it has passed a threshold of environmental or health inspection by the retailer. But this may not be so.

Gina Costa, sales representative for Planet Blue, a small retailer that specializes in beauty products said that customers are always looking for natural personal care products without all of the added chemicals.

“I think people are definitely paying more attention in choosing to buy more natural and safer personal care products,” They no longer want all of the chemicals in their products and have become allergic to certain creams because of the ingredients that they contain and sometimes do not know what they are or contain. I think we should know what we are putting on our skin.”

The Food and Drug Administration classifies cosmetics and personal care products, but does not regulate them. In 1938, the FDA granted self-regulation to the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Fragrance Association CTFA, the self-appointed industry organization.

According to the FDA the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.

What this means is that the industry does not have to account to anyone, not even the FDA. The direct result of industry self-regulation is that many products on the market today that we use constantly are products that we unknowingly use on our children and even babies in the womb are toxic.

The cosmetic manufacturers are not required to submit safety data to the FDA, so we don't really know what sorts of tests they run.

If you have products that contain these ingredients, you may want to look for alternatives. There are safe products available and products that have been tested by third party scientists and are guaranteed as being free from potentially harmful ingredients.

Here are some things that everyone should be cautious of when buying products:

• Check ingredients for any parabans, methleparabens and chemicals.
• Read the labels on your personal care products. You may find ingredients that are harmful or toxic. You may find ingredients that react with others to produce a harmful toxic substance and may become allergic.

• Avoid Phthalates: Phthalates are usually found in synthetic fragrances. Try finding products with essential oil fragrances or unscented products to keep away from phthalates. Products that contain phthalates should be thrown away from your current stash of products because studies have shown that this chemical can cause liver damage, damage to the lungs and even ones kidneys.

• Safe Preservatives: All products must contain a certain amount of preservatives to allow the product to keep its shelf life. In addition, a product without preservatives will prevent bacteria, fungi and most types of yeasts from forming in the products. A healthy alternative to preservatives is sodium benzoate which is a natural preservative found in cinnamon, apples, cranberries and so on.

• Use Cleansing Alternatives: Many products can irritate or cause SLS (a health risk) even for those skin types that are not usually sensitive. There are gentle forms of cleansing and foaming agents so why not take advantage of them. Look for sodium myreth sulfate for body washes, soaps and hair products; sodium lauryl sarcosinate, decyl glucoside, or cocamido propyl hydroxysultaine in shampoos; and sodium cocoyl glutamate in dental products for safe usage.

• Choose glass packaging rather than plastic

There are also some reference guides that are helpful in researching ingrediatnts such as Milady's Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary that explains what ingredients contain harmful ingredients and what they do.

If you are looking for more natural alternatives n your personal care products, Recipes for Natural Beauty, 100 Homemade Treatments for Natural Beauty by Katie Spiers, gives you ideas on how you can make your own personal care products from ingredients such as avocados, cucumbers, lemons, honey, and oatmeal.

Some of the recipes call for tinctures and flowers, which can be found in your local health food store.

Many times choosing more natural personal care products that are made with botanicals and essential oils are the only way in having control on what we use on our bodies because we can never be too sure on what is being offered on the shelf.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the article posted regarding harmful ingredients in personal care products. It was very informative, and I believe you are absolutely correct about the negative impact that these chemicals can have on our bodies. I have discovered several amazing reports to validate your position, and I think you would find the information fascinating. I would love to discuss this further with you. Please email me at your earliest convenience at One report in particular is very serious in nature and was documented on CNN. I’ll send you a link.