The most harmful ingredients in cosmetics


Women are ready for any tricks to preserve their beauty. Sometimes cosmetics not only did not help, but even harmed the body.

But even today, these products use by no means safe substances. How harmful are these substances in reality?

Parabens. A group of such substances in chemical language can be called as "propylparaben", "butylparaben" or "methylparaben". These are commonly used preservatives to stop the growth of germs and bacteria. Such substances are quite resistant to temperature extremes, their popularity is due to their high efficiency. Parabens have been a component of many cosmetics for quite some time, proving, it would seem, their safety. However, the ubiquitous press has unearthed that the situation with parabens is not so cloudless. Attention has been drawn to studies proving that these preservatives can break down hormones, which in turn is a direct road to breast cancer and heart problems. Indeed, there is scientific research that has determined the presence of parabens in breast tumors. Other data have shown that parabens can actually affect estrogen, which affects cancer development. The opinion of the molecular biologist Philippe Darbre was important. She suggested that parabens could enter tumors through body spray, creams or deodorants. This may explain the fact that about 20% of all breast tumors develop near the armpits. But since the first studies appeared in 2004, no subsequent studies have confirmed a direct link between breast cancer and parabens. And the analysis of the relationship between underarm hygiene and breast cancer did not show clear data. In 2008, a review was compiled that took into account data from 59 other studies. However, no scientific basis has been found for considering parabens to be harmful. But there were studies that confirmed the possibility of accelerating skin aging due to methylparaben applied to it and interacting with ultraviolet light.

Formalin and diazodinyl urea. These substances are also preservatives like parabens. They are often referred to as formaldehyde donors. The fact is that in the course of a chemical reaction, it is they who give formaldehyde ions, which is known for its fast and successful resistance to microbes. Today it is generally accepted that this ingredient is quite scary - it irritates the skin, causing genes to mutate, giving rise to cancer. But one must distinguish donors of formaldehyde from itself. Their amount in cosmetics is carefully regulated to ensure the safety of use even for those with very sensitive skin. Science also believes that the safety of using these donors lies in the issue of their concentration and the person's propensity for allergies. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) concluded that formalin poses no hazard to most consumers at all. In the final formula, its content was limited to 0.2% of the liberated formaldehyde. Such an amount will not allow an allergic or other reaction to occur, even in persons with high sensitivity to such a substance. True, a tendency to allergies can still cause dermatitis. Studies have shown that contact allergy to imidazolidinyl-urea can cause dermatitis, and these same people are usually allergic to diazodinyl-urea.

Triclosan. This substance became known thanks to advertisers who "spotted" it in an advertisement for antibacterial soap. Now everyone knows that such an antibacterial substance is found in regular and liquid soaps, deodorants and toothpaste. However, there are some claims that triclosan is a fairly toxic substance that affects the hormonal system. This leads to the appearance of chronic diseases, the appearance of abnormalities in newborns, harms the kidneys, spleen, etc. Several independent studies have been conducted on this topic, which have not come to an unambiguous conclusion. The American FDA has confirmed the safety and efficacy of triclosan, but more recently returned to research after the appearance of information about the negative effects of the substance on the hormonal system of test animals. But to date, in the information on triclosan on the official website of the FDA it is written that there is no scientific basis for canceling the recommendations for using products with it. In 2009, the Canadian Medical Association asked the government to ban the use of products containing triclosan, as it has the potential to create hazardous by-products such as chloroform. There have been speculations that triclosan may react to chlorine in ordinary tap water, generating the potentially carcinogenic gas chloroform. But further research showed that the amount of chloroform released was insignificant even when compared to its content in chlorinated water. Triclosan, in addition, can, in the course of reaction with chlorine, give derivatives that are converted over time into dioxins. Although their number is also small, this cause is of concern in the scientific community. Indeed, some dioxins are very poisonous, negatively affecting the human endocrine system. In 2006, studies were conducted that showed that small doses of triclosan could affect the endocrine system of American frogs. Immediately, it was suggested that triclosan is capable of disrupting hormonal metabolism in the thyroid gland. Today, this substance is found in fish living near sewer waste, in breast milk. Sweden no longer recommends the use of triclosan in toothpastes, where it was previously placed to prevent gingivitis. Since 1998, there has been a scientific opinion of Dr. Stuart Levy that triclosan could potentially help create a superbug that will be resistant to it. After all, bacteria evolve in the same way, becoming immune even to antibiotics. Therefore, scientists believe that triclosan should not be used for cosmetic purposes. It can act like an antibiotic. But this assumption was rejected over time. Studies have appeared, including by Dr. Levy himself, which have shown that triclosan has nothing to do with the resistance of bacteria. Everyone has known for a long time that ordinary soap copes with bacteria in much the same way as the advertised antibacterial soap with triclosan. What then is the point of using it?

Sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate. Lauryl sulfate is one of the basic elements in almost all detergents. You can find it in shampoos, shower gels and even toothpaste. The substance is classified as surfactant. However, it is one of the most important suspects in the cosmetics industry. You can easily find information about the dangers of SLS on the Internet. They write that it can promote hair loss, cause cancer, it is even simply called the most dangerous chemical in skin and hair care products. Science cautiously believes that, like any other surfactant, SLS can indeed irritate the skin. The Cosmetic Industry Review has done extensive research to find out the substance's true effect. It turned out that SLS is capable of depriving the skin of salt and fat. This ultimately leads to eye and skin irritation in animals. and some people. But the same reaction is possible with other cleansing ingredients, it all depends on their concentration. But in cosmetic products, the use of which occurs quickly and is accompanied by abundant subsequent washing, the ingredient is generally safe. In those products that require prolonged contact with the skin, you should pay attention to the concentration of SLS. It should not exceed 1 percent. On the face, the presence of SLS will cause irritation one hour after exposure. As a result, contact with sodium lauryl sulfate should be avoided by patients with atopic dermatitis, as this can seriously aggravate the problem. And you shouldn't buy SLS toothpaste, it can cause stomatitis.

Diethanolamine. This substance has the same bad media fame as the previous one. Diethanolamine is classified as a secondary surfactant (surfactant). It is added to the general formula of the cosmetic product so that it gives more pleasant foam, affecting the appearance. Diethanolamine is not used in its pure form; its companions are Cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA and Stearamide MEA. In 1998, a study by the National Toxicological Commission (NTP) was born, which found a relationship between the presence of diethanolamine and its derivatives on the skin with the appearance of cancer in laboratory animals. Immediately the press spread the news that diethanolamine is a hormone responsible for the formation of nitrates, which then cause cancer. The news of this caused a real panic, some manufacturers even quickly changed the composition of their products. However, in fact, "cancer" fever involving the DEA has no serious scientific justification for itself. The said FDA still considers the ingredient safe until proven otherwise. True, the very wording “until proven otherwise” is embarrassing, so look carefully at the composition.

Petrolatum. This substance has long been used to moisturize the skin, as well as in styling products. True, petroleum jelly has traditionally been in the spotlight of regulatory authorities, since it consists of a mixture of mineral oils and solid paraffinic hydrocarbons. There are accusations in the press that petroleum jelly causes cancer. It is no coincidence that this ingredient is generally prohibited in the European Union. The FDA, however, believes this ingredient is safe. Moreover, it can be used even in the food industry. And in Europe, petroleum jelly is not banned in cosmetics at all.

Mineral oil. This skin moisturizer also has a bad reputation with organic producers. Although, what could be more natural than mineral oil? After all, it is made from extracted oil. Mineral oil is said to be contaminated with carcinogens, it dries out the skin causing aging, draws out vitamins and clogs pores. In the end, this remedy is accused of provoking acne. But scientific articles sweep aside all these accusations, convincingly proving their inconsistency.

Propylene glycol. This famous moisturizer is often used in cosmetic formulas. The component is considered very useful, because it combines well with other ingredients, and in itself it has valuable qualities. Concerns are raised by the information that propylene glycol penetrates the skin protein, destroying it. This manifests itself in subsequent malfunctions of the liver, kidneys and even the brain. The relationship of propylene glycol with the development of cancer is also described. The accusations against the humidifier are also related to the fact that it is also used as an antifreeze. But scientists from the FDA, NTP and CIR have concluded that there is no need to worry about this remedy. Propylene glycol has even received GRAS status from the FDA, which means it's safe even as a food. No evidence of the carcinogenicity of the substance, as well as the ability to influence genes, was found.

Flavors. These substances are added to cosmetics to make them smell better and sell accordingly. Today it is difficult to imagine cosmetics without an attractive scent, which explains the presence of the corresponding substances in the general formula. Fragrances have long been included among the paranoid in the category of dangerous products. They say that they cause allergic reactions, headaches, spots on the skin, coughing and irritation. Flavors are believed to be bad for the nervous system, causing depression. People become hyperactive, irritable, and other behavioral disorders are noted. Scientific studies have indeed confirmed that fragrances can be allergic. As a result, in Europe, some of them must be listed on labels as possible irritants. And in 2007, the American Contact Dermatitis Society even declared fragrances Allergen of the Year. Today, the safety of flavors is tested annually by independent IFRA scientists. There is a safe level of use of these substances, which manufacturers must follow.

Pigments. These substances are responsible for the color of the cosmetics we use. Without pigments, they would be either dull yellow or dull brown. And decorative cosmetics would never have been born. Pigments are accused of being artificially carcinogenic. Science responds to this accusation that pigments are the most strictly controlled of all cosmetic ingredients. In America, each batch of dyes is tested by the FDA for quantitative composition and safety before use.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG). Cosmetics use this substance, as it can moisturize the skin, thicken it, and form an emulsion. PEG is beneficial for its dissolving power. As a result, without this substance, many of today's cosmetics would simply be impossible to produce. However, there are concerns in the press that polyethylene glycol may be carcinogenic. It is said that it dries out the skin unnecessarily, causing it to age. But such accusations are already typical of any oil-derived ingredient. The answer to such speculation was given by the journal Toxicology in 2005. In the article about PEG, the scientists clearly came to the conclusion, having studied all the available information about this substance, that there should be no fears about its safety.

Talc. This powdery ingredient is used in cosmetics to absorb moisture or as a filler. In fact, it is actually magnesium silicate in powder form with the addition of water. The main complaints about talc are related to its possible connection with ovarian cancer. Such data are shown in a 1993 study from the US National Toxicology Program. However, a more detailed study of this document will lead to the debunking of such a myth. The fact is that talcum powder with non-asbestos fibers led to the formation of tumors in experimental rats after they inhaled this powder for 6 hours 5 days a week for 113 weeks. Subsequent studies of talc and all information about it led to the fact that an unambiguous conclusion was made and its safety when used as directed. The FDA has given the powder GRAS status, making it possible to use it to prevent clumps in table salt at a concentration of less than 2%.


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