The “F” Word in Cosmetics

By: Ashley Moreda

Posted on September 21, 2017

Photo via Beauty India News

Photo via Beauty India News

Many of us have a beauty regimen. From lipstick and mascara thrown on for a quick outing, to full coverage foundation and dramatic cat eye for a party, the possibilities are endless for looking gorgeous. But did you know you might be lathering on an unregulated, chemical-full substance on your face, hair or body? Chemicals that cause cancer and endocrine disruption?

Some of us really do care and take precautions about the what we put on, and into our bodies, but there are many beauty products where harmful chemicals aren’t even listed on the packaging. Most of the time the list provided is so confusing, we aren’t even sure what we should be looking for. Many often rely on the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) here in the United States, because, isn’t that their job?

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “Most people assume cosmetics and personal care products are tested for safety before being stocked on store shelves. In truth, personal care products are one of the least regulated industries in the U.S.” There are many things that the F.D.A. doesn’t know about cosmetics, including the term “fragrance.” Most of us associate this word with smell, or perfume, but the reality is, it’s just a blanket term for a bunch of “component chemicals.” Getting scared yet?

In an article for Down To Earth, Tracey Terns reported,  “A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage. Other studies found the face to be several times more permeable than broad body surfaces and an absorption rate of 100% for underarms and genitalia. And another peer-reviewed study showed 100% absorption for fragrance ingredients.” Skin is the largest organ on the human body, but it’s so easy to find a nice smelling lotion to apply to dry skin. We often don’t stop to consider what’s in it, but there is more at stake than just going out into broad daylight without your #makeupnomakeup look.

When delving into the nitty gritty of cosmetics, it is intimidating to avoid being dazzled by pretty colors while also trying to choose safe, healthy, and even earth friendly options. Take heart, there are companies devoted to those very goals such as Beauty Counter . You can also look for companies with the Made Safe seal or check your current products with the Think Dirty App. It’s a great start to protecting yourself.