Beware of Toxins in Personal Care Products

Marina Dauer, in a recent piece for EWG -a non-profit environment and health advocacy group-, discusses the very important subject of avoiding the hidden dangers in cosmetics and fragrance gift sets. This is especially important now when we are still in the gift-giving, holiday spirit. Perfumes and cosmetics remain among the most popular choices for gifts and this trend is not ending anytime soon, with stores across the world offering a wide variety of cosmetics and fragrance gift sets.

The piece discusses a 2020 holiday retail survey ​conducted by professional services network, Deloitte, which revealed that 29% of shoppers intended to buy cosmetics and fragrances as gifts, and that these were among the top 10 items that shoppers bought for themselves during the holiday season. 26% of people admit to wanting to receive them as gifts. Retailers everywhere understand the desirability of fragrances and cosmetics gift sets and each holiday season, display towering structures of boxes of perfumes and cosmetics gift sets, or feature them prominently across their websites.

Typically, customers assume that fragrances and cosmetics gift sets are free from toxins, or, they just assume that whatever goes into the making of these products is not at all harmful. Unfortunately, fragrances and cosmetics often do contain harmful ingredients. Pretty hurts: fragrances and cosmetics products often use chemicals which many health advocates warn are linked to a variety of negative health outcomes. How is this state of affairs possible? Since the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) brought the cosmetics and personal care industry under its purview,  only nine chemicals have ever been banned from use, and over 12,000 have been approved for use at present. The industry is largely self-regulated.

The reason so many products contain toxins is that those products also have certain levels of bacteria, which degrades the product. To prolong the shelf life of the product, manufacturers add preservatives. Parabens are an example of a toxin and allergenic synthetic chemical which is used widely as a preservative in cosmetic products.

The truth is, exposures add up. American women are using more products a day. In 2004, when EWG published their study, “Skin Deep”, American women used 12 products a day – nearly 200 chemicals. In 2016,  beauty retailer, Skin Store, found that that figure had risen to 16 products a day, just for their faces.

Overall, cancer is on the decline, but certain types of cancer, those involving the thyroid, liver and skin, are, according to government data, on the rise. Infertility is on the rise too, as well as allergies in children. Cancer rates for men have been in decline, but those of women have remained stable since 2008.

Consequently, when shopping, or undergoing cosmetics procedures such as microblading at Avant Permanent Cosmetics, consumers need to take care to check the ingredients of any personal care products, to ensure that there are no toxins there.

As the EWG article notes, many teens and preteens are very keen on receiving gift sets with eye shadow palettes, yet, often they or their gift-givers are unaware that the ingredients in eye shadow palettes may contain toxins. Considering what a crucial time adolescence is, it is crucial to come to grips with what goes into the making of these products and know the toxins to avoid.

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