Natural Health Journals

Toxic Cosmetics — It’s a Reality

Almost all women do it–we stroll into our bathroom and begin the morning make-up routine. It usually goes something like this: wash face, then apply face lotion with a SPF, concealer, tinted moisturizer, eyeshadow, blush, followed up by mascara. But have you ever thought about what you’re actually putting on your face? Most people don’t, but they should–the majority of cosmetics sold in the United States are filled with toxic chemicals.

Two women, Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt are trying to make others more aware–they just put out a book called No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics (Lifelong Books, $18.95). In an interview that they did with the Calgary Herald, they “point out that American companies aren’t reformulating their products for sale in Canada as they do for Europe, where the European Union has banned more than 1,100 ingredients from cosmetics. In the U.S., where the Food and Drug Administration has to prove that a product is dangerous before ordering it off the shelves, only eight ingredients are verboten.”

The Calgary Herald goes on to report that, “There is a dearth of long-term studies on the effect of most chemicals when applied to your skin. Some scientists say that low doses of the chemicals are not harmful. But recent studies of common ingredients in personal care products have raised alarm bells. In 2009, the multinational Endocrine Society Report concluded that hormone disrupters are more effective in low doses than in large doses. Vitamin A in sunblock appears to become carcinogenic once it’s exposed to the sun, according to a 2009 study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Other recent research links parabens to the aging of skin cells and phthalates to the disruption of hormones.

All of these studies “merit further investigation,” writes Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, in an e-mail to the Herald.”

So what’s a lady to do? Make an effort to buy organic cosmetics. These are popping up everywhere, from your local CVS, to Target, to Sephora, it’s fairly easy to find cosmetics with natural, non-toxic ingredients–if you look for them. When shopping at a beauty store, such as Ulta or Sephora make sure to ask a salesperson–they can lead you in the right direction. Or, before you head out take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s website,, which gives it’s recommended list of what to buy.

*For more information on Vitamin A and sunblock, click here.

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