I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to use an item, such as a shampoo, and found myself staring at the bottle, wondering if it was possibly not good for me. And then trying some mental gymnastics to gauge: if not, how much not good?
I’ve on occasion used a particular brand of shampoo that was supposed to be composed of essential oils, only to find my scalp feeling a bit too tingly (as in "burning"). I don’t know about you, but I don’t need that sensation interrupting my thoughts as I go about my day — talk about being attacked by my own toiletries! <grin>
Then there were the cosmetics — perhaps a skin cream here, or a lipstick there — that chapped my lips or otherwise resulted in … unwanted results. Who knows what was in them? And what was I smearing on my face?!
Now, as a realist, I realize that in this modern world, we can’t simply skip using cosmetics or body cleaners altogether, and rely solely on water and air for our preparations — at least, if we’d like to keep our friends. However, it doesn’t take much research to discover that the cosmetics we use are not so safe as we may wish. Indeed, the Daily Mail’s article Is your make-up killing you? The deadly poisons lurking in your handbag (January 31, 2009) points out some dangers:
The British cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery industry is worth more than £6.5 billion a year.
Yet just this week, research was published showing that common chemicals used in toiletries may make women more likely to be infertile.
Indeed, inside all those gleaming bottles and tubes we take for granted lurks a cocktail of dangerous synthetic chemicals that research suggests may be responsible for everything from reproductive complications to allergies and cancer.
The article, well worth reading, covers hair products, hair dyes, cleanser, shampoo, talcum powder, deodorant — and even the U.K. definitions of "hypoallergenic" and "dermatologist-tested". It’s not pretty, and it’s not solely about what we think of as cosmetics, such as lipstick or hair spray.
There are some things we can do to ensure we’re informed:
We’re great fans of the Cosmetic Safety Database website, where you can search online for specific products (and brands) to see what they contain, how those ingredients might affect you, and ratings as to how much impact they might have.
We’re also pleased to see the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website — cosmetic activism online! The website contains information, along with ways to get involved.
I guess it’s a personal thing — and how much more personal can you get than having your scalp feel like it’s afire? That’ll make you active! <grin>
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