Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Confused Cosmetics

Everything that goes on your body gets absorbed INTO your body. Don’t believe me? Assuming you don’t have a hot date tonight, rub a cut clove of garlic on the bottom of your foot. Within fifteen minutes you should be able to taste it in your mouth. (Try not to think about this the next time you are walking barefoot.) Seriously, though, the average woman exposes herself to a hundred chemicals before breakfast. There is no mandated requirement for safety testing when it comes to personal care items. They regulate only after a chemical has been proven to be hazardous.

Only 11% of 10,500 ingredients in beauty products have been tested for safety. When the product says it has not been tested on animals—well that is probably because it has not been tested at all! Companies will try to fool you by putting the words, “unscented” or “natural” on the package. It doesn’t matter what the front says. The only words that are important are that ingredient list. But in all honesty do we even understand the ingredient list. Look at some of your products when you have a moment. What does the word fragrance even mean??? This term can be used to mask hundreds of ingredients, including phthalates. Remember them from my previous post? They are the chemicals used to make rigid plastics soft. What are they doing in our cosmetics? You might think mineral oil sounds pretty normal, but mineral oil actually coats your skin so it can’t breathe. It can be carcinogenic (carcinogen=a substance capable of causing cancer) since it is often contaminated with other chemicals. Talc, yes we threw that lovely smelling talc powder all over our baby’s bums…turns out talc is similar to asbestos and can increase the risk of certain ovarian cancers. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used in brake fluid and antifreeze, but you may also find it in your toothpaste, shampoo, and bubble bath.

It would be nice to be able to read “the fine print” concerning these names if there actually were any on the bottles. Companies are, however, obligated to list all the ingredients. You just have to find out what these ingredients mean. Gather up all your products with scary sounding names on the back. Go to http://www.safecosmetic.org/. You can actually type in the product name and they will rate it for you. Happy code breaking! Nowadays we use only natural products in this house. If we can’t practically eat it, it is not going on our skin.

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