Cosmetics and skin care products are part of our daily grooming habits. The average adult uses at least seven different skin and hair care products each day. The parade of personal care products we use every day from toothpaste and shampoo to lipstick and aftershave can affect us more than we realize. At issue are the chemical ingredients they contain and the extent to which they pose any risk to consumers.
In particular, teens have high incidence of chemical exposure since they tend to experiment with different kinds of cosmetics and personal care products. According to a recent report published by Environmental working group, a watchdog group on cosmetic, 16 different chemicals were found in the blood and urine samples of 20 adolescent girls aged 14 to 19. Research links these chemicals to health effects such as Cancer and Hormone disruption.
Beware of Phthalates!
Found in everything from perfume to toys, shampoos to moisturizers, Phthalates belong to a class of chemicals called ‘Endocrine Disruptors’. Phthalates are agents that help derive moisture and allow chemicals to absorb into skin. They help to bind fragrance in the body care products. Phthalates are also used to soften plastics used for toys, disposable plastics bottles and containers. Side effects include Kidney, Lung and Liver damage and Female reproductive illness such as early onset of puberty, PCOD and infertility. Continued Phthalate exposure can trigger miscarriage and could be a cause of birth defects. Studies show prolonged use of products containing Phthalate can increase the risk of Asthma, Allergies and Type 2 Diabetes.
Unravel the Carcinogenic Threat of Hair Dyes!
Hair, our crowning glory is groomed with varieties of cosmetics which hold several potentially negative side effects and some of them are enlisted as ‘carcinogenic’. Along with the increased use of hair dye, there is growing risk of adverse affects. The chemicals in hair dye most likely to cause allergic reactions is Para-Paraphenylenediamine (PPD). PPD is found in more than two-third of permanent hair dyes and is very effective at penetrating the hair shaft and follicle as well as binding the proteins in the skin. These characteristics make PPD a potent contact antigen able to induce allergic reactions. Other chemicals found in hair dye known to cause to allergic reaction include cobalt, which is found in some brown hair dyes and Glyceryl thioglycolate found in permanent wave solutions that may be used in conjunction with hair dye.
Various studies are being conducted to find links between hair dyes and risk of cancer, it has been found that hair dyes are linked to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Women who have been using hair colours for longer period have an increased risk of developing non-Hodkin’s lymphoma, leukaemia and multiple myeloma.
Lead in lipsticks!
Turns out, the urban legend is true. Most of the leading brands are having highest lead levels. Lead builds up in body over time and lead containing lipsticks applied several times a day can add up to singnificant exposure levels. Lead is a proven Neurotoxin that can cause learning, languages and behavioural problems such as lowering IQ, reducing school performance and increased aggression. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure because lead can easily cross the placenta and enter the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development.
Whether it’s a shampoo, body wash, moisturizers or personal care products are supposed to make us beautiful to help us strike balance between inner and outer beauty. Watchdod groups on cosmetics such as environmental working group (EWG) and researches at Vassar College are finding that common culprite causing illness are following chemical groups-phthalates, Triclosan paraben and musks. By products of these substances such as sodium laureth sulphate and 1,4-dioxide is suspected carcinogens.
Ayurvedic cosmaceutics – Best Alternative
Cosmaceutics are buzz words of 21 century cosmetic industry has blurred the line between traditional cosmetic products and pharmaceutical drugs. To be more precise, Cosmaceuticals are pharmaceuticals which contain biologically active ingredients intended to enhahce health and beauty of the skin, they are not only for eternal beautification but also aiming towards health enhancement.
The revolution they triggered is apparent from the fact that cosmetics are no longer visualized as products that cover up or camouflage imperfections in personal appearance. Today’s healthful cosmetics offer protective healing and rejuvenative attributes as well.
Desirable features of cosmaceuticals are efficacy, safety, stability and rejuvenation and hence every cosmeceutic is ‘handicap’ without the lever of ‘Herbal’ or ‘Ayurveda’. Ayurvedic cosmeceuitics are known for their efficacy and rejuvenating effect as they ward off the ravages of aging and improve health.
This article is published under the guidance of Dr. M.A. Lahankar, H.O.D & Asso. proff. Shalakyatantra department, R.A.Podar medical college, Mumbai.