Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 30th 2015 Contents B50
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, April 30, 2015
The entire cosmetic industry is in a buyer-beware
state of alert. Consumers are warned by experts to
put on the watch list any makeup which contains
synthetic colouring ingredients, emulsifiers, leads,
copolymer, triclosan, and "urea as a preservative."
Also contributing to the chemical compounds are
phthalates, formaldehyde, and petroleum.
Without proper regulations, especially regarding
testing how chemicals react to one another in com-
binations, it is scary how quickly the industry has
become a problem for women and men alike.
Some lipsticks are loaded with lead. If you think
it doesn t matter because it s just on your skin, think
again. Deodorants and shampoo must also be included
in the equation.
There are plenty of solutions to the problem, but
where do you begin?
Start by viewing the issues as long term conse-
quences. Consumers shouldn t count on "all natural"
labels and similar advertisements because current
regulations on the use of those buzzwords are almost
In the United States, the personal care industry
goes largely unregulated. For starters, the FDA has
not set limits for lead in cosmetics unless the lead
is used for colour additives. Also, many fragrances
are synthetic. Ever heard of or seen on the ingredients
list Diazolidinyl or Imidazolidinyl Urea?
The average man might easily put six to eight per-
sonal care products on his skin repeatedly every 24
hours. Facial soaps, shampoo, conditioner and deodor-
ants will likely contain at least one of ten carcinogenic
chemicals, and the combination of chemicals seep
through the skin, into the bloodstream, creating
havoc for healthy cells.
The Safe Cosmetic Act of 2010 uses terminology
like aggregate exposure, vulnerable populations, and
people with compromised immune systems, but it
seems as though everybody fits into at least two cat-
egories. Are you still willing to take the same chances?
Synthetic colours are listed as D&C or FD&C, but
even though these are regulated by the industry, they
are still mostly derived from coal tar, which, when
injected in lab mice, causes cancer. Many previously
approved colours are now banned across the world
because of known carcinogenic properties.
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), the ingredient which pro-
vides that shiny, smooth, varnish look, comes at a
steep price, and not just in dollars and cents. Banned
in Europe, this dangerous toxin can pose a threat to
the nervous system, even by simply inhaling the
fumes. Women who sit and relax at salons and bou-
tiques for hours on end might even feel intoxicated
when they exit. Pregnant women especially beware.
The long-term effects include impaired fetal devel-
opment and deformed male reproductive organs.
Triclosan is found in more than a handful of cos-
metics, and now even in toothpaste, because it s
supposed to kill bacteria. Triclosan was initially devel-
oped as a surgical scrub for medical professionals,
and not for putting around your eyes or for scrubbing
your teeth and gums daily, but somehow the FDA
has approved it for general consumption.
Here come two more ingredients the average human
being cannot pronounce. Diethanolamine and Tri-
ethanolamine, more easily recognised as DEA and
TEA, used extensively for emulsifying products.
Combine the two chemicals, and if you re a scientist,
you re watching the lab rats die from cancerous
tumours. The only "panel of experts" out there rec-
ommends you only use them in small doses, but
what about the cumulative effect that builds up over
time and from the laundry list of products that
Many synthetic nail colors, lipsticks, sunscreens
and whitening toothpastes now contain lead and
other metals. Titanium dioxide is found in concealers
and even diaper ointments. Some metals are used
for colour, and certain kinds of lip glosses even
Some lipsticks are loaded with lead.
Dangerous chemicals found in
cosmetics, personal care products
contain aluminum compounds. The infamous
D&C Red 6 may contain mercury and arsenic
in addition to the lead.
Also, zinc is used in moisturizers, which
clogs pores, preventing them from breathing
Petrolatum is basically petroleum and is
commonly found in moisturizers. It forms
an oily layer on the skin which blocks mois-
Just as aluminum in antiperspirants dan-
gerously blocks and traps sweat, petroleum
has adverse effects on skin; however, since
it s so cheap for makeup manufacturers, it s
even found in baby creams and wax depila-
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