Beware of Chemicals in Beauty & Personal Care

Photo: Courtney Rhodes

Beauty and personal care products are as old as the human race. And we apply practically all of them on the skin, the largest organ in the body but also the thinnest and most permeable. Yet these products  contain heavy metals, hormone disruptors and carcinogens. How can we stay safe?

The desire to beautify oneself and embellish one’s looks is age-old. However, media blitz, celebrity endorsements and the introduction of low-cost products are making women take to more and more kinds of cosmetics and hygiene products. These days, deodorants and hair removal creams are considered essential by girls as young as eight or nine years old!

So what’s the real story behind beauty products? Consider the following:

  • Almost 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics but only about 10 percent of them have been evaluated for safety
  • On an average, urban women use 12 personal care cosmetics, and these contain 168 chemicals
  • Cosmetics can be launched on the market without prior safety approvals
  • Manufacturers of personal care products are not required to disclose the ingredients

Now link these to the fact that the skin is the largest organ in the body, while being the thinnest and the most permeable, and you have a situation that demands immediate and utmost attention. When chemicals come in contact with the skin, they are absorbed straight into the bloodstream – without filtration of any kind. The chemicals then accumulate in the body over time because the body does not have the necessary enzymes to break them down. In fact, applying chemicals on the skin may actually be far worse than ingesting them because, when we eat something, the enzymes in the saliva and stomach help break it down and flush it out of the body.

What prompts us to allow such deadly chemical infiltration into our bodies? The promise of smooth, light-coloured skin, silky hair and glossy looks, for instance – the notions of ideal beauty as peddled by the media. Also attached are ideas of convenience and freedom associated with personal care products like sanitary napkins and tampons.

However, concealed behind the gloss, the fragrances and the convenience are heavy metals, hormone disruptors and carcinogens. What’s worse, the chemical exposure can be insignificant, especially when it occurs daily for a lifetime! In fact, Dr Joseph Mercola, the well-known natural health expert, likens the realm of feminine hygiene to a ticking time bomb.

Yet shouldn’t asserting one’s rights over one’s body necessarily extend to protecting it from lethal substances that impact one’s health and well-being?

So are there safer alternatives?  The answer is yes, there are beauty and personal care products that are chemical-free. However, one needs to exercise care and not take the “All Natural” label on product packaging at face value, but be discerning, make well-informed choices and say a firm No to all infiltration by poisonous chemicals in the beauty and personal care range.

 


References:

  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/22/ feminine-hygiene-products.aspx
  • http://mercola.com/infographics/personal-care-products.htm
  • http://articles.mercola.com/chemical-exposure.aspx

 

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