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What to Know About the Potential Dangers of Makeup

Everyone wants to look attractive and feel their best. Cosmetics are one way that we enhance our looks and our features. Before buying cosmetics it is essential, however, to understand the potential dangers of makeup and to shop for products that will nurture and beautify without harming your skin or your body. Women do not have to compromise on their health to achieve beauty in the 21st century.


Unfortunately, cosmetics are not well regulated in the American market. While the FDA classifies cosmetics and personal care products, they don't regulate them. Cosmetic manufacturers are not allowed to use color additives and a select few ingredients are prohibited; beyond these few regulations, virtually anything goes. In order to remove a product from the market, the FDA must prove in a court of law that it is harmful; and in most cases, the FDA does not have the time or money necessary to wage a court battle against large cosmetics companies. This does not mean that such lawsuits are frivolous. In fact, a 1998 study in U.S. News and World Report concluded that "We look good, we smell good, and we have just exposed ourselves to 200 different chemicals a day, through personal care products."

The question, of course, is what can we, the consumers, do about the potential dangers of makeup? Here are some solutions.

Get rid of old makeup: Most of us keep our makeup for a long time and don't necessarily replenish it as often as we should. One item, old mascara, can be extremely harmful. The formaldehyde in mascara helps to prevent the growth of bacteria. Over time, however, the mascara may stop producing formaldehyde and the bacteria may multiply exponentially. It is, therefore recommended to replace mascara every few months. To protect yourself from the bacteria that can grow on other makeup products, pay attention to the dates written on the products and replace them before their expiration date.

Be careful about irritations and allergies: Two of the common potential dangers of makeup are skin irritations and allergies. Before using a product, read the ingredients and make sure that you don't have any known allergies to the ingredients. Try the product out on a small area of your skin and see how you react before using it in large quantities. Make sure to wash your face well before going to sleep to get rid of all makeup and to prevent build up. Subscribe to a health magazine that reports potential health dangers in cosmetics, and make sure that your products are risk free.

Be particularly careful with certain products: Certain products have more potential dangers than others. Nail polishes, for instance, often have a hazardous ingredient known as Parabens which is used as a preservative. Parabens were recently discovered in breast cancer tissue. Hair gels, anti-perspirants and aftershaves also include harmful products at times. The thickening agents Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol, which are commonly found in these products, are also found in brake fluids, anti-freeze solutions and oven cleaners. Another danger is with hair dyes. Many studies by the FDA and the American Cancer Society show that people who use hair dyes regularly are four times as likely to develop cancer as those who don't.

Buy Organic and Natural Products: The best way to ensure that you avoid the potential dangers in makeup is to do your research and to buy your cosmetics from reputable organic companies. Organic and all natural products allow you to rest assured that you aren't using anything with harmful substances. They tend to be gentler on your skin, easier on your body, and less likely to cause allergic reactions or adverse health affects.

You deserve to look beautiful - but you also deserve to stay healthy. Take care of yourself and protect yourself from the potential dangers of makeup. You'll be glad that you did.


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