Are We Forfeiting Our Health For Beauty?

Are We Forfeiting Our Health For Beauty?

Chemicals in skin care products get absorbed through our permeable skin and besides causing skin damage, this penetration can cause long-term harm to our internal organs too

Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it is extremely porous and permeable. It is also a part of the excretory system with our sweat glands removing a significant amount of toxic wastes. The long term use of cosmetics and our over reliance on beauty aids may damage this fragile organ system as all cosmetics and skin care products are made up of synthetic chemicals in various proportions including coloring agents and aromatics.

Most chemicals in the skin care products are potentially toxic to our body and it is extremely rare to find complete natural skin care products in the market. Chemicals in the products get absorbed through our permeable skin and besides causing skin damage, this penetration can cause long-term harm to our internal organs too. Some health hazards associated with beauty products are listed here,

Skin Care Products

  • Anti-blemish and anti-wrinkle creams contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) which are linked to development of skin cancers secondary to long- term skin changes.
  • Phthalates used as skin softeners, added to moisturize skin are known as endocrine disruptors causing long-term damage to reproductive and immune system alterations.
  • Soaps and shampoos contain formaldehyde which may be formed due to the breakdown of other ingredients. This is an eye and skin irritant in addition to causing respiratory problems.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) is used as a foaming ingredient in soaps, body washes, and bubble baths – this is a carcinogen and hormone disruptor.
  • Bleach contains hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide which can cause redness and skin peeling.
  • Talcum powder is made up of silicates which are implicated in lung disorders and ovarian tumours.
  • Lead added to lipsticks is a known neurotoxin. Some lipsticks also contain aluminum. Oral ingestion of minimal amounts of these chemicals which happens with lipsticks is always hazardous.

Hair Care Products

  • A lot of hair colouring agents use coal tar derivatives like pphenylenediamine and the long- term use of these is linked to development of lymphomas, bladder malignancies and myelomas.
  • Ammonia in hair colouring agents leads to excessive dryness and hair damage.
  • Shampoos may contain foaming agents which are hormonal disruptors.

Eye Care Products

Eye liners, mascaras, etc. may cause damage as the eye mucosa may absorb these products. Mercury and colouring agents are some of the chemicals used in liners and other eye care products. Mascara contains a bactenum called pseudomonas and it has been a known danger for eye infections, more commonly among contact lens users.

Nail Care

The constant The constant use of harsh colouring agents on the nails leads to thinning, damage and chronic discoloration of nails.

The Current Scenario Allergic reactions or skin hypersensitivity to a host of skin or hair products is another major risk. Although skin testing over a small patch is recommended by most manufacturers, severe reactions despite repeated use can still develop. It is only in recent times that our personal care products have their listed ingredients on the packaging as regulated by authorities. Most branded cosmetics follow these regulations. However, the danger lies in the cheaper varieties of skin care products where adulteration with more dangerous chemicals is more hazardous. The listed and unlisted chemicals both may cause damage. Rarely are these tested on human-based population studies, especially regarding long-term exposure.

With plenty of emphasis on outward beauty being promoted from a young age, it is not uncommon to see adults and teenagers alike, depend on cosmetics, which continue for almost tour-five decades. But are we aware about the damage the use of these products can cause over a span of 30 years? The actual effects will be seen years later. So. it is better to be safe and limit exposure from early on.


Hair Care
Hair care with a good coconut oil massage and washing regularly with shikakai and colouring with henna are tried and tested methods.

Skin Care
Using natural bleach and skin packs with honey, fruit packs, turmeric, curd and gram flour on one’s skin is a more natural way to attain fresh glowing skin.

To sum up, it’s best to avoid the haršh effects of the unsafe chemicals-rich skin care products to safe guard our health in the long run and it’s definitely advisable to try our grandmothers’ beauty secrets.

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