The history of cosmetics can be sketched back to thousands of years, but no part of that history holds more significance than these (last) past few decades. Some call it controversy, some group it as media buzz and some call it justified. This situation of synthetic cosmetics has been in the spotlights since then. Hundreds -if not thousands- of websites have related the use of these products to potentially toxic substances -lead, mercury, parabens- present in these products and the dangers they pose to the consumer’s health, both physically and mentally. Should you be worried? This article is an impromptu attempt to address this very question, and hopefully, by the end of this piece, we’ll be able to reach a conclusion. Let’s take a look:
Most commonly utilised as preservatives in food, therapeutic and cosmetic products. Parabens are obtained from PHBA (para-hydroxybenzoic acid). Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutyl paraben, are the forms of Parabens. As mentioned earlier, they are the most widely used preservative in personal care products, which is primarily because they Parabens are useful in keeping your products mould bacteria free, and more importantly is very economical.
The use of parabens in cosmetics was highlighted on mainstream media, back in 2004. This scrutiny came immediately after a research study conducted by Dr Philippa Darbre of the University of Reading in England revealed the findings that 18 out of 20 breast cancer tissue samples contained parabens. As these compounds can weakly imitate the effects of oestrogen, and as oestrogen can intensify tumour growth, this revelation was Considered to be a major problem. The presence of parabens in breast tumours was picked up by the media and presented as evidence that parabens contribute to breast cancer.
While some could argue that parabens have received a clean slate in Australia and some other countries of the world, the fact of certain side effect remains. And in response to the concerns of consumers regarding this situation, many companies have introduced paraben free products. The fact -which coincides with the statements of various experts at IQ Natural– remains that parabens have shown adverse impacts on human health if used in large quantities.
Cancer is perhaps one of the most researched ailments in the modern times, partly because of its nature and somewhat to find its cure. So, naturally, where ever its name pops up, it manages to attract attention. Similarly, in this case, concerns regarding with the use of aluminium in deodorants and anti-pre spirants. In the early 2000s, several news platforms reported plausible links between the alleged use of antiperspirants carrying aluminium and breast cancer. Thus, similar reports equated the use of synthetic cosmetics to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
You might be wondering what does aluminium do to warrant such strong reaction? Aluminium blocks the sweat pores to reduce the natural sweating. Some scholars argue that this process prevents us from releasing toxins, which causes a build-up within our lymph glands. The other school of thought argues back by stating that breast cancer tumours do not originate in the lymph nodes, they originate in the breast and then travel to the lymph nodes later. In accordance with these findings some cosmetic manufacturers have:
- Launched a complete range of Organic Makeup
- Have offered aluminium free products for their consumers
You might’ve noticed the recurring nature of news reports highlighting the levels of lead and other metals in lipsticks, right? Does this mean consumers should be worried? In 2013, a study conducted in University of Berkley conducted a study on 32 different lipsticks to identify what’s exactly going on in this situation. The findings revealed traces of aluminium, manganese (can cause neurological problems) and titanium in all 32 products. Likewise, the study further revealed that three-quarters of the sample set contained lead (it affects the nervous system and can induce learning disabilities in children). In addition to the presence of the previous substances; studies further revealed the presence of nickel, cobalt, cadmium and chromium in the sample set.
You might be wondering, why would manufacturers knowingly add such substances in their products? The answer is pretty simple; they don’t -at least deliberately- these anomalies exist in synthetic cosmetics as ‘impurities’. Right now the bigger concern is your well-being, so keeping that in mind the next question will be something like ‘are these levels harmful enough to be considered toxic?’ Experts remark that excess of sunlight is also a type of cancer, so the answer lies in the quantity and proper precaution.
At last, we reach the point of addressing our topic at hand ‘Is Synthetic Cosmetics Dangerous?’ In a nutshell, the answer is yes. You’ll need to be cautious as to what you are buying and using, because ultimately it’s your choice, body and life.