You hear PARABENS, PRESERVATIVES, SILICONES, and the names make you want to run away? It is often said that these and other ingredients are harmful to our health. But is it really true? Let’s check it then! What substances are hidden in cosmetics and what is their effect on our body? Read today’s post and find out what’s really going on.
Which cosmetic ingredients are really harmful?
1. PEG and SLS
PEGs in cosmetics are used as emulsifiers, humectants, emollients, and surfactants. SLS is a by-product, used in shampoos, shower gels, bubble baths and household cleaning products. Some argue that SLS causes headaches and burning eyes. Meanwhile, it is necessary to lather the cosmetic and remove impurities better.
They have been the consumers’ target for a long time and they raise many concerns. However, before they end up in a given product, they have to undergo many tests. Dyes are tested in terms of: chemical purity, pH-dependent stability, spreadability, homogeneity and heavy metal content.
On the surface of the skin they form a protective coating that can interfere with gas exchange and cause irritation. What’s more, silicones as nonbiodegradable compounds, remain in the environment for a very long time. Silicones are most commonly used in hair and skin products. Their task is to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. They can also protect the skin and hair from harmful external factors and UV radiation.
Although the use of parabens is legal and safe, still these compounds evoke many extreme emotions. Meanwhile, parabens are preservatives that prevent the multiplication of microorganisms and protect the cosmetic against the development of microorganisms. The permissible concentration of parabens in a cosmetic is 0.5% for a specific compound and about 1% for a mixture of parabens. Can such a dose be dangerous? No, because parabens are one of the most thoroughly tested substances used in skin and hair care products.
5. Vaseline oil, paraffin oil, petrolatum
They are obtained in the process of distillation of crude oil. Although they are not beneficial to our health, they are used as a basis for pharmaceutical ointments and medications applied to the affected skin. These three substances are emollients (moisturizing and softening substances), which can be found even in cosmetics for sensitive skin and for children. Why are they so dangerous? Vaseline and paraffin form an occlusive layer on the surface of the skin, which on one hand protects against the negative impact of the external environment, but on the other – clogs skin pores and prevents gas exchange. However, remember that gas exchange through the skin is only a fraction of the functioning of the entire organism. In fact, they are substances of high purity and high stability, and are not subject to degradation under the influence of solar radiation.
How cosmetic ingredients affect our body?
It is said that cosmetics contain substances that affect our hormones or interfere with sexual development and thus have a negative effect on the condition of the whole body. Did you know that a hormonally active substance is, for example, soy, and more specifically the isoflavones it contains (known as phytoestrogens). These ingredients imitate the action of human estrogen (as a woman you certainly know how important they are to your body). Other substances that act in this way are: clover, licorice, caffeine, horsetail, vitamin C and B vitamins. This group also includes components considered harmful by us, i.e. parabens, BHA and UV filters.
Why is it essential to control cosmetic composition?
Cosmetics and their content must be controlled for the sake of our health and safety. There are special institutions and documents that regulate the amount of these substances or whether they will appear in the product at all. Both finished products as well as individual substances are constantly controlled. However, the following factors determine whether a given component is harmful: their effect, how they behave in relation to certain hormones, the amount used in the cosmetic, the ability to penetrate the skin.