Cosmetics are comprised of a combination of chemical substances derived either from natural resources or chemically manufactured ones. The term “cosmetics” was first used in the late 19th century by the French chemist, Louis Pasteur. He demonstrated that plant extracts and animal tissues could be used as a source of vitamins, and that these extracts provided great improvements in the skin’s health and appearance. Cosmetics have come a long way since then. With the advent of synthetic and artificial substances, the scope of cosmetics has greatly expanded to include cleansing products, hair care products, make-up removers, personal care items, and even certain types of pharmaceuticals.
One area of expanding cosmetics is in the area of safety and effectiveness. Cosmetics do not always meet the safety requirements set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. This is because the FDA regulates cosmetics through formulations, rather than through the strength of the ingredients used. Therefore, cosmetics can contain ingredients that would be considered unsafe for people to eat, depending on what they have been subjected to. For example, one of the most commonly used ingredients in cosmetics is parabens, which are chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer. Parabens are widely used because they are cheap and effective here.
Some of the most common chemicals added to cosmetics products are sodium lauryl sulphate, (SLS), and ammonium hydroxide, (AHO). These two are common surfactants, and both can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. However, these two ingredients are also often found in anti-aging creams and lotions, cosmetic products designed to soften and smooth the skin, shampoo, and toothpastes. Allergies to these chemicals can be very severe and life-threatening, especially in combination with other ingredients.
Many cosmetics include preservatives called parabens, which are a group of synthetic preservatives commonly used in cosmetics. Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to trigger the development of breast cancer. Some of the chemicals commonly included in cosmetics, such as methylparaben, triclosan, and propylparaben, have been proven to be carcinogenic in laboratory testing. These chemicals should not be present in cosmetics unless they come from an FDA approved facility. This is why it is very important to read the label when choosing make-up.
Another group of chemicals commonly included in cosmetics are some types of fragrances. While some fragrances occur naturally, many of them come from petrochemicals. Fragrances are usually concentrated plant fragrances that are used to give cosmetics a pleasant smell. However, these compounds can also cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, and they may even be toxic in large doses. If you use cosmetics containing fragrance oils and pigments, you should check with your physician first.
In order for cosmetics to be considered cosmetics, they need to contain certain ingredients. The US FDA requires manufacturers to include a list of ingredients that are included in their cosmetics in the labeling. However, this does not mean that all cosmetics on the market are safe. To learn more about what each ingredient does, you should research the information provided by your cosmetic company.