Most Americans use beauty products or cosmetics in one form or another, but few stop to consider what hidden dangers may lurk within those pretty glass bottles with the colorful advertising. Many cosmetic products are swimming with chemicals that have the potential to cause health problems ranging from allergies to cancer. In order to protect your health, it may be helpful to know which beauty products have the potential to be the most damaging:
Dangerous cosmetics #1: Nail polish
Nail polishes may look harmless, but lurking within those beautiful colors is a toxic chemical known as DBP. This substance is a member of the phthalate family, a group of chemicals that have been scrutinized due to health concerns. Concern exists because DBP has been shown to cause birth defects in mice. This substance has already been banned in Europe and some of the cosmetic companies within the U.S. are taking steps to remove this potentially dangerous chemical. At the very least, use of nail polishes containing DBP should be avoided during pregnancy.
Dangerous cosmetics #2: Sunscreens
You’ve heard the repeated warnings to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from U.V. light. While this may be sound advice from the perspective of skin health, use of sunscreens may not be so healthy for your cells. Several problems exist relating to the use of sunscreens. Most sunscreens contain chemicals such as PABA and benzophenones that are known to generate free radicals. As you may already know, free radicals have been shown to cause cellular DNA damage and potentially increase the risk of certain chronic diseases including cancer. In addition, some ingredients found in sunscreens have estrogen like effects on the body which can potentially increase the risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, fertility problems in men, as well as contribute to a wide range of other health problems.
Dangerous cosmetics #3: Body powders
Many body powders that are placed on the skin after bathing contain talcum powder. Talc is a substance that’s similar in structure to asbestos which is a known human carcinogen. Past studies have shown that women who talcum powder in the genital area increase their risk of ovarian cancer by up to sixty percent. Talc can also be found in some feminine hygiene sprays, feminine napkins, and even facial pads and tissues. Talc has been shown to cause tumors in animals when inhaled.
Dangerous cosmetics #4: Dark hair dyes
This has been an area of controversy with some studies showing an association of use of hair dyes with an increased cancer risk and others showing weak or no association. The most recent studies show that use of dark hair dyes, but not light ones, may increase their risk of developing a certain type of lymphoma. Nevertheless, dark hair dyes contain a variety of chemicals that are suspected carcinogens.
For some of these cosmetics and beauty products, you may be able to form more healthy alternatives. There are sunscreens on the market that use zinc oxide as the active ingredient which presents less of a health hazard than PABA. Henna may be a good alternative to hair dye. Be sure to read labels carefully and make sure you understand what you’re putting on your skin. It could save your life.