Do you know what’s in the products that you’re using on your body? Like actually in them? Don’t feel bad if you don’t, most beauty products come with a list of ingredients that are hard to pronounce, let alone to have a complete understanding of their purpose. That’s no mistake.
For the most part, product manufacturers rely on consumer ignorance about what they use in their products. However, consumer ignorance is a thing of the past. Today, we have more of a say when it comes to what’s in our beauty products. Companies have quickly moved away from practices like animal testing and including shady ingredients in their products. Consumers are to thank for that. So, give yourself a pat on the back.
How are Cosmetics Regulated?
The short answer? They’re not.
The United States has some of the most lenient laws regarding cosmetics regulation in the world. Compared to other nations like the European Union, our laws may as well be non-existent. For example, the EU has banned over 1,000 ingredients from being used in their products. The U.S., on the other hand, has 11 banned chemicals for use in cosmetics. Just 11. Only 11!
This is mostly due to the fact that the FDA’s rules for regulating cosmetics have remained largely unchanged from their genesis in 1938. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act predominantly covered the misbranding of a product. Ingredients must be labeled on the product. Thank goodness that a product needs to be clearly labeled.
However, this law doesn’t require the “FDA to recall potentially dangerous items or monitor the ingredients used in products.” So… hurray for dangerous products being allowed to stay in the market?
If you’d like to check out some ingredients that are found in your beauty products and whether or not they are banned by the EU, check out their laws here. Be warned, the document is very long. You can speed up your search by using the “Command+F” function on Mac or “CTRL+F” on a PC, putting in the chemical’s name and reading from there.
Should I be Worried About Chemicals in My Cosmetic Products?
Don’t go throwing away all of your products just yet. There are plenty of products that don’t contain harmful ingredients. Although, it may be a good idea to do research on some of the chemicals that are found in your cosmetics. Here are some reasons why you should pay attention to what chemicals are included in your cosmetics products.
- There have been studies conducted that show that certain chemicals alter body cells in laboratory conditions, however, they remain permitted because they have been shown not to have an effect under “normal use.”
- Some chemicals can harm the environment, as well as our bodies. For example, Hawaii has passed legislation banning products that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, which harm the coral reefs. Despite this, the chemicals are found in the majority of sunscreens.
- Studies have shown that teenage girls use up to 15 cosmetic products a day on average.
As a consumer, you have every right to decide which products you want to use and why. It is completely your choice. This article is meant to shed light on the fact that unlike all of the food in your grocery store, cosmetics aren’t strictly regulated to ensure public health.
If you are concerned about what chemicals can be found in your favorite products and whether or not they are harmful, do your research. This article is part one in a series. We will continue to explore the ingredients that you should avoid in your beauty products in the series.
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