Cosmetics Toxicity and You

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps a close watch on food, oversees drugs and water in the US, however, it does not monitor safety of cosmetics. In fact, there exists no watchdog for determining safety of chemicals used in cosmetics except for the Cosmetics Review Committee which itself is funded by Cosmetics Industry. Several studies have suggested that many constituents of cosmetics are potentially dangerous to human health.   


Breast Cancer and under-arm deodorant usage: In a study by European Journal of Cancer, it was established that use of underarm deodorants is linked to breast cancer. Deodorants contain propylene glycol and aluminum. While propylene glycol blocks the sweat gland, aluminum is known to facilitate  Alzheimer's. Aluminium, a good conductor of heat, is widely used for making foils, cookware/pressure cookers. Aluminum cookware/foils must be avoided as it may lead to ingestion of its traces. In another test, aluminum traces were found in mother's milk! 

Lead Poisoning through Lipstick: Tests have shown that one out of every three lipstick brands tested contained more than safe limits of lead. Lead toxicity leads to DNA abnormality. Lead is also present in many crayons and many chinese toys.

Cellular damage & Hormonal disturbance from Sunscreen usage: Oxybenzone, an ingredient in Sunscreens, is known to cause cellular damage and hormonal imbalance. In US, a study by Centre for Disease Control in 2008 found that oxybenzone was present in bodies of 97 percent of 2500 Americans studied.

Clearly, use of harmful chemicals in our cosmetics puts our health at risk. Unfortunately, most of the times, innocent consumers are not even aware of these risks. The website www.ewg.org/skindeep has rated approx. 70,000 cosmetics that we use on a scale of zero to ten. It is horrifying to see most of the popular cosmetics rated above two ( below which rating indicates "safe").


It is time that we switch to nature for our requirements and take one step towards an era that we left behind to incorporate in our lives, the best of ancient times. In Egypt, Greece and Rome, in earlier eras, women mixed heavily scented plants with oils such as olive oil for softening skin. Red ochre, a red colored clay, was used for coloring lips, cheeks and nails. Natural soaps and shampoos were used for bathing. In fact, even today we could prepare our own shampoos/soaps at home for safety of our family's health. And if that seems too troublesome, try to buy organic safer products from responsible small, local ,organic manufacturers.