Beauty at a Price You Shouldn’t Have to Pay

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Do you really know about the ingredients used in the cosmetics you purchase on a regular basis? Most women don’t. We usually shop based on what our parents or other female figures in our lives purchased when they were first exposed to cosmetics like lipstick, eye shadow and mascara. Other personal care products such as toothpastes, shampoos, conditioners and shaving creams are included as well. Statistics show that the average woman applies 12 beauty products to her body every day, which amounts to 168 chemicals. Let’s not leave out men, who apply about six cosmetics daily, exposing themselves to 85 chemicals. We shouldn’t assume that if a product is on the shelf, it’s been tested and it is safe. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority to require companies to test cosmetic products or ingredients before they go on the market. The FDA conducts pre-market reviews only of certain cosmetic color additives and active ingredients that are classified as over-the-counter drugs (FDA 2005, 2010).

This requires you, the consumer, to be aware of the ingredients in your cosmetics and to be a smart shopper. Some of the most common toxic ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products include Parabens, Dibutyl Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Triclosan, Toluene and Fragrance. You might think that since cosmetics ingredients are applied to your skin, they rarely get into your body. Think again. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and what you put on it gets absorbed into your body and can have adverse effects on your health.

So, what are you exactly exposing your health to when you use beauty products that contain these ingredients? According to the EWG, ingredients are linked to various health effects:

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Here are some helpful tips to avoid harmful toxins in your cosmetics. Choose a product manufacturer that:

1. produces safer, more environmentally responsible products 2. discloses every ingredient on their labels 3. promotes and markets cosmetics made with naturally derived ingredients 4. not only tests the ingredients, but also tests the products 5. has credible research and science behind their products