Each year, billions of dollars are spent developing, marketing and consuming personal care products. From makeup for your face, cheeks and eyes to lotions that smooth and exfoliate from head to toe, the cosmetic industry stretches far and wide, encompassing everyone in a consumer binge for beauty. Protecting yourself from harmful ingredients should be a top priority, particularly when a majority of shoppers aren’t aware that the FDA’s realm of authority doesn’t extend as far as most cosmetic products and ingredients. A majority of the research is done by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIS) , an industry sponsored organization that investigates products for safety. Though it is supported by the industry, the CIS maintains that they carry out unbiased research on the safety of cosmetic specific ingredients and products.
In recent years, parabens have risen to the top of the health advisory list and continue to be researched further for their possible damaging health effects. Parabens work to preserve the cosmetic products which we put onto our bodies, but how do these parabens react when absorbed into the body? The unknown is a potential threat to companies utilizing this ingredient, if and when it is discovered to be too harmful for use. In fact, most deodorant manufacturers already no longer use parabens in their preservative process, most likely because of studies that found small amounts of this cosmetic preservative in cancerous breast tissue. No study conclusively shows parabens to be a factor in the development of breast cancer, yet avoiding potentially toxic parabens may be the best idea overall.
Consumers are becoming more aware of questionable ingredients, brought to them through research and news (see thegreenguide.com for a list of common questionable ingredients). The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has developed a Skin Deep guide for consumers to shop for the healthiest cosmetic products available on the market. Perhaps researching products may seem time consuming now, but being aware of ingredients contained in your cosmetics may provide extra years of health in the long run.