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Home > Cosmetics Knowledge > Are cosmetics safe? > Protection from Cosmetics
Protection from Cosmetics

Never drive and put on make-up. Not only does this make driving a danger, hitting a bump in the road and scratching your eyeball can cause serious eye injury.

Never share make-up. Always use a new sponge when trying products at a store. Insist that salespersons clean container openings with alcohol before applying to your skin.

Keep make-up containers closed tight when not in use.
Keep make-up out of the sun and heat. Light and heat can kill the preservatives that help to fight bacteria. Dont keep cosmetics in a hot car for a long time.

Dont use cosmetics if you have an eye infection, such as pinkeye. Throw away any make-up you were using when you first found the problem.

Never add liquid to a product unless the label tells you to do so.

Throw away any make-up if the color changes, or it starts to smell.

Never use aerosol sprays near heat or while smoking, because they can catch on fire.

Dont deeply inhale hairsprays or powders. This can cause lung damage.

Avoid color additives that are not approved for use in the eye area, such as "permanent" eyelash tints and kohl (color additive that contains lead salts and is still used in eye cosmetics in other countries). Be sure to keep kohl away from children. It may cause lead poisoning.

How Do I Protect Myself from UV?
It is impossible to completely avoid sunlight and it would be unwise to reduce your level of activity because you dont want to be outdoors. But there are precautions that you can take to limit your amount of exposure to UV.

Some people think about sun protection only when they spend a full day at the beach or pool. But sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens whenever you are in the sun, for example when you are gardening, fishing, hiking, riding a bike, going to the zoo, attending a baseball game, or going to and from your car.

Sun protection The following are steps that provide a practical approach to protecting yourself from the effects of the sun:

Limit direct sun exposure during midday.

Cover up

When in the sun, keep your shirt on! Wear clothing to protect as much skin as possible. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts are the most protective. Dark colors provide more protection than light colors by preventing more UV rays from reaching your skin. A tightly woven fabric provides greater protection than loosely woven clothing. If you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can get through, too. Also, dry fabric is generally more protective than wet fabric.

Wear a hat

Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher

A sunscreen is a product that you apply to the skin for some protection against the suns ultraviolet rays, although it does not provide total protection. Sunscreens are available as lotions, creams, ointments, gels, and wax sticks.

Products labeled "waterproof" provide protection for at least 80 minutes even when swimming or sweating. Products that are "water resistant" may provide protection for only 40 minutes.

Some sunscreen products can irritate some peoples skin. Many products claim to be "hypoallergenic" or "dermatologist tested," but the only way to know for sure whether a product will irritate your skin is to apply a small amount to your skin for three days. If your skin does not turn red or become tender and itchy, the product should be okay for you.

Experts recommend products with an SPF (Skin Protection Factor) of at least 15. The number of the SPF represents the level of sunburn protection provided by the sunscreen. A SPF 4 blocks out 75% of the burning UV rays while an SPF 15 blocks out 93% of the burning UV rays; an SPF 30 blocks out 97% of the burning UV rays. The FDA is currently reviewing ways to measure how much protection sunscreen products provide in the UVA range.

Wear sunglasses that block UV rays

Check Your Skin Regularly

You can improve your chances of finding precancerous skin conditions, such as actinic keratosis -- (a dry, scaly, reddish, and slightly raised lesion) and skin cancer by examining your skin regularly. The earlier you identify signs and see your health care provider, the greater the chances for simple and successful treatment.

The best time to examine your skin is after a shower or bath. Check yourself in a well-lighted room using both a full-length mirror, and a hand-held mirror. Become familiar with your birthmarks, moles and blemishes so that you know what they usually look like and then can easily identify any changes they undergo. Signs to look for are changes in size, texture, shape, and color of blemishes or a sore that does not heal. If you find any changes, see your doctor or health care provider. Also, during regular checkups, ask your doctor to check your skin.

Examine Your SkinHow To Examine Your Skin:
Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then your right and left sides with arms raised.
Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms and upper underarms and palms.
Look at back of your legs, your feet, your soles, and the spaces between your toes.
Examine the back of your neck and scalp with the help of a hand mirror, and part hair to lift it to give yourself a closer look.
The most common skin cancers-basal cell and squamous cell-often take the form of a pale, wax-like, pearly nodule, a red scaly, sharply outlined patch, or a sore that does not heal. Another form of skin cancer - melanoma - often starts as a small, mole-like growth.

American Academy of Dermatology. Patient Information. Available online at:

American Academy of Pediatrics. Summer Safety Tips. Available online

FDA. Center for Devices & Radiological Health. The Darker Side of Tanning. February 4, 1997.

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