Reducing the amount of chemicals put on the body is always a good idea, especially for children and anyone with sensitive skin. Much is unknown about the chemicals used in personal, body, and cosmetics. Myths exist too and the truth behind regulations means becoming extra diligent when shopping and using cosmetics and body care items.
Two Common Myths
Myth: Hypoallergenic is a safer choice.
Fact: False/ According to the FDA, hypoallergenic can mean “anything or nothing at all.” They go on to say, “have considerable market value in promoting products.” Medically speaking, hypoallergenic means nothing beyond being a marketable term to sell products.
It’s another marketing term and it started with a popular commercial for a facial cream. While the FDA does have regulations in place, they left the policing up to the cosmetic and body care companies. This leaves consumers in the dark and at a potential risk.
Myth: the FDA will recall all harmful products, so there’s no need to worry.
Fact: False. The FDA’s authority doesn’t include the ability to issue cosmetic recalls. Companies don’t have to report injuries to the FDA either. The FDA can’t force a company to issue a recall, though they can request companies submit to studies and/or issue voluntary recalls. It’s still up to the companies to participate, and they usually don’t.
Years ago, consumers made the switch to talc free powder. The FDA performed a study on talc in cosmetics and their link to asbestos in response to the public. They contacted major brands and asked for their permission. Only a few companies responded and complied with their study, which at the time was to determine if a deeper study should occur. Since only a handful voluntarily complied, the process of the study shows how little power the FDA has over cosmetic and beauty care products on the market.
Myth: Ingredients rarely go in the body. If they do, they are too low to make an impact on health.
Fact: False. You breathe in sprays, your hands and fingers touch your lips, and children often put their hands in their mouths. Plus, many companies design their products to absorb faster and deeper, which exposes users to higher levels of their ingredients.
How to Protect Your Skin and Health
Fragrances, artificial dyes, and chemicals in products can lead to rashes, skin burns, and itchy hives when you have a reaction. Mothers and activists have also raised concerns with long-term use of many products or ingredients that other countries have banned from beauty care products. Being informed is the first step to making your beauty regimen a healthier one.
Start by replacing your products with safer versions. Swap one at a time, especially if your skin is rash or hive prone. This step helps identify the cause should a problem occur because even safe ingredients can cause skin reactions. This is as easy as buying soap with only essential oils over “fragrance” for scent. If you’re unsure about an ingredient, look it up. Become an informed consumer and make the decision for yourself or your loved ones.