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Home > Cosmetics Knowledge > Cosmetics Properties
Cosmetics Properties

lipsticksEver wondered what cosmetics exactly contain. Today cosmetics have a lot of things that may be useful for the skin and others that may be just to harm the skin. Today we have products that contain vitamins and other proteins that have certain things that may be beneficial to the people in general. Today B - grade or what we say low quality products are not much used in the real sense of the term. Today cosmetic industry has come out with a lot of advancement by creating innovative products whereby there is an intensive research being carried out which is the best part of any cosmetic industry. Today certain cosmetic types like lipsticks are made out of cows skin, but people still prefer to use those kind of products. This is like committing and causing harm, cruelty and injustice inflicted on animals. But today international products like LOreal and Maybeline have shown a lot of growth and progress by coming out with new and innovative means of making new products lie the recently launched Wet Lipstick which makes the lips to turn moist and soothing which have boosted the technology rather to a much greater extent. Innovations are but natural a part and parcel of any cosmetic industry. Cosmetics which are of good quality, are wellknown and that are widely used may be expensive. But people do purchase such kinds of products. New breakthrough shall come but people still are very kin to experiment and gain more knowledge about what do cosmetics actually contain and so Lets have an insight as to what do  cosmetics actually contain by having a detailed account:

Every day you see many ads on T. V. for cosmetic products which seem to imply that using their product will bring you better health, increased beauty, and more popularity, money, and/or success. Many products try to strengthen their claims by adding exotic ingredients, like aloe vera, or seemingly desirable qualities, like "Hypoallergenic." But, are the companies claims valid? Do the extra ingredients really work and are the healthy sounding phrases really true? And, although cosmetics are widely and frequently used, are they completely safe? As you will see, these claims are often grossly exaggerated, and are pure hype. Also, we will examine the health precautions that should be taken when using cosmetics.

You may be wondering whether or not people actually believe cosmetic ads. The answer appears to be an emphatic "Yes!" In 1999, U. S. consumers spent $3.4 billion on health and beauty products, and in 2003, the international cosmetic market is predicted to reap benefits for cosmetic companies of over $23.6 billion. Obviously, the constant barrage of beautiful people shown using cosmetics has an effect on how the everyday consumer spends his/her money on health products.

In reality, some cosmetics are not as healthy as they claim to be. This is not to say that they are harmful to your health, but the benefits they promise are often not actually significant. For an example, we will look at aloe vera. Many lotions, creams, and other skin products contain a claim on their label saying that the product contains aloe vera. Although aloe vera has been used for the relief of itchy, scratchy, and burning skin for thousands of years, most cosmetics do not contain enough of the plant extract for it to actually have an effect. This is because aloe vera is quite expensive to manufacture and handle, so adding significant amounts to any product would skyrocket the price.

Many products contain added vitamins like A, D, E, K, and others. These vitamins are essential to healthy hair and skin, but there is no definite experimental evidence to show that placing vitamins, and many other additives, on the skin has any benefits, because it is quite possible that the skin does not absorb and use them. Basically, cosmetic label statements which promote the addition of an ingredient into the product as beneficial need to be taken with a grain of salt, as many are either not potent enough or are not proven to have a real effect.

Hypoallergenic ProductAnother common claim of cosmetic labels is that they are formulated to have some trait that appears attractive. A very typical example is the phrase "Hypoallergenic." For people with sensitive skin, hypoallergenic cosmetics sound like a blessing, because the word "Hypoallergenic" means that the cosmetic is less likely to cause an allergic reaction to the user. Then again, there are absolutely no FDA (Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency which regulates, among other things, cosmetics) regulations concerning the use of the word "hypoallergenic." In other words, there is no set definition for hypoallergenic, which leaves the decision of whether or not the product really causes less allergic reactions completely up to the company.

The term "dermatologist-tested" only means that a dermatologist has run tests to determine if the product causes less reactions in general. This does not mean that the cosmetic actually does cause less reactions, only that it has been tested. Of course, some companies really do try to make their products less likely to induce allergies by conducting lab tests, but just because the cosmetic is labeled as "hypoallergenic" or "dermatologist-tested" does not mean that it will not cause an allergic reaction.

When a product says that it contains "natural" or "all-natural" ingredients, it is really saying that the ingredient was not produced chemically in a lab. Instead, it was extracted from plants or animals. However, this does not at all mean that it will not cause allergic reactions. In fact, some natural ingredients are very common causes of reactions (for example, lanolin which is a product from wool).

When a consumer is evaluating cosmetic labels to separate bonuses from bunk, he/she needs to read all the promotional phrases and words with a slightly cynical eye. Any exotic ingredients or so-called good characteristics of the cosmetic which are highlighted by the label should be scrutinized before the consumer buys the product; there may be not enough of the added ingredient to have the claimed effect, or the claims on the label may not be as justified as the company would have you believe. Products whose labels contain only completely factual and meaningful claims do exist, but the consumer should watch out for cosmetic hype when they try to find the lotion that will give them the softest skin and is chemical-free or a cream which will not bother sensitive skin, but will soothe it with plant extracts.

Fragrances and preservatives are the main ingredients in cosmetics. Fragrances are the most common cause of skin problems. More than 5,000 different kinds are used in products. Products marked "fragrance-free" or "without perfume" means that no fragrances have been added to make the product smell good. Preservatives in cosmetics are the second most common cause of skin problems. They prevent bacteria and fungus from growing in the product and protect products from damage caused by air or light. But preservatives can also cause the skin to become irritated and infected.

Some examples of preservatives are:
imidazolidinyl urea
DMDM hydantoin

The ingredients below cannot be used, or their use is limited, in cosmetics. They may cause cancer or other serious health problems.
mercury compounds
vinyl chloride
halogenated salicyanilides
zirconium complexes in aerosol sprays
methylene chloride
chlorofluorocarbon propellants

Most cosmetics contain a combination of at least some of the following ingredients: water, emulsifier, preservative, thickener, colour, fragrance and pH stabilizers.

Many cosmetics contain chemicals known as parabens and phthalates, which recent studies indicate may be linked to cancer development.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. (Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.)

Phthalates are known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive impairments in laboratory animals that are exposed to these chemicals during pregnancy and after birth. Phthalates are also known to be hormone-mimicking chemicals, many of which disrupt normal hormonal processes, raising concern about their implications for increased breast cancer risk.

There are numerous other chemicals of concern in personal care products. BCA is particularly concerned about lutein (progesterone), formaldehyde and coal tar due to their links to cancer. The Environmental Working Group recently released Skin Deep, a report on the safety of cosmetics and personal care products. Astonishingly, 1/3 of products tested contain on or more ingredients that are known, probable or possible human carcinogens.

Body Care ProductsCosmetic companies will argue that we dont need to worry about harmful chemicals in their products because they are only used on our skin and hair. For example, the cosmetics industry has long stated that their widespread use of parabens and phthalates is not harmful because they remain on our skin and are not absorbed into our body. However, a recent study found parabens in human breast cancer tissue, raising obvious questions about the ability of parabens to accumulate in our bodies (Darbre et al. 2004). In September 2000 scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found phthalates at surprisingly high levels in every one of 289 people tested, especially in women of reproductive age. The authors concluded that "from a public health perspective, these data provide evidence that phthalate exposure is both higher and more common than previously suspected" (Blount et al. 2000).

Many cosmetic companies will also argue that the level of a harmful chemical in any one product is not enough to harm you, based on studies of chemical exposure in adults. However, science is finding the timing of exposure is crucial, and that even a very small dose of some chemicals can have serious consequences in children and young women who are still developing. Also, we are rarely exposed to a chemical just one time. We may use the same product every day, several days a week, for months or years. In addition, we use dozens of personal care products daily, not just one. So while exposure from one product on one day may be small, the fact is we use numerous products a day for extended periods of time. As a result, scientists are finding chemicals such as parabens and phthalates accumulating in our bodies.

Many diseases like cancer, asthma, birth defects and learning disabilities are on the rise, and there is growing evidence that these health problems are linked to the chemicals we are exposed to in our air, water, food, and everyday products. Its time we start acting to protect human health. The Precautionary Principle, a common sense approach to chemical use, says "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". It guides us to take action to prevent exposure to chemicals we know or suspect are harmful to our health. In the case of cosmetics, when a product ingredient is known or strongly suspected of being harmful to our healthy, our top priority should be eliminating the use of this chemical and finding a safe substitute to replace it. In many cases, we know safe alternatives do exist and are already being used by some cosmetic companies. The notion of "safe" or "acceptable" levels of hazardous chemicals in our products should only be introduced when we cannot find alternatives. We are entitled to products that wont hurt us.

Many cosmetics and skin care preparations contain carcinogenic ingredients.
Examples of  various types of  cosmetics that contain certain things are as follows:

BlusherMany eyeshadows and blushers contain talc which is very similar to asbestos Talc is a known carcinogen and has been linked to ovarian and lung cancer. Numerous tests have shown a link between using talc in the genital area and ovarian cancer. It also posses a health risk when inhaled into the lungs.

Other powders found in these products contain artificial fragrances which is the most common cause of allergic reactions to cosmetics.

MascaraMascara may contain alcohol, formaldehyde and plastic resins. Sensitivity to these ingredients can cause irritation to the eye in the form of redness, swelling and burning.

9%-25% of toxins that we are exposed to are absorbed into our bodies from cosmetics and personal care products that we use each day. The skin is very permeable and some chemicals can penetrate the skin in large amounts. This is especially true of facial make-up that is often worn all day.

The average woman has 4 times more toxins in her blood, and a hairdresser has 4 times more than the average woman.

Commercial soaps as we know them today usually contain a variety of other chemicals that are not neutralized in the manufacturing process and that are being applied to your skin.

Many commonly used products, including nail polish, antiperspirant, and shampoo, contain a chemical called dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, which causes birth defects in lab animals. The next time you buy nail polish or antiperspirant, read the ingredients. Manufacturers are putting a toxic chemical that causes severe birth defects in animals in shampoos, conditioners, antiperspirants, cosmetics and especially nail polishes, according to a report released today by the Environmental Working Group.

More and more cosmetics nowadays contain sunscreens with a range of sun protection factors (SPFs). Sunscreens can now be found in some face powders, foundations, lipsticks, and specially formulated face moisturizers. Some of these moisturizers are oil-free and use non-greasy sunscreen ingredients that may not produce an oil slick on your face. All cosmetics have petroleum products and they can irritate the eyes. Expensive ones have proof of quality and they have gone through many tests, while the cheap ones have not." Cosmetics manufacturers are allowed to use almost any chemical as an ingredient without government approval. Some cosmetics are such that they can tan your skin. So its better to be on a safer side. Its good to use those cosmetics which are not b-grade ones and which contain toxins, chemical and other ingredients that harm the skin and cause other unnecessary problems which are really bad and may harm the skin texture. Some cosmetics contain strong chemicals. Use with caution.

So finally after reading this topic the doubts about what do cosmetics actually contain will be solved for the readers of this topic and now next any one buys cosmetics one needs to actually know what are the ingredients in cosmetics to avoid and aggravate any further problems.

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