I have never thought much about cosmetics. I suppose that has a lot to do with being a man but even in the most literal sense which includes shampoo and cologne, I just have never done much research on them. However, as is often the case it turns out cosmetics are interesting.
What are cosmetics?
Cosmetics are affectations used on various parts of the body to look and smell good.
Why should we study cosmetics?
First, cosmetics often harbor allergens that can cause itching, redness, rash, sneezing and wheezing.
Next, people use “testers” at makeup counters that may have a lot of germs because so many people use them.
People ignore labels. In doing so they fail to know what the product contains that may adversely affect them.
It is very important to know the difference between a cosmetic and a drug.
A product that is used to make your skin look pretty is a cosmetic. Lipstick is a cosmetic. Or, a product that is for making you smell better is a cosmetic. Perfume is a cosmetic. Shampoo to get your hair clean is a cosmetic.
However, shampoo used to fight dandruff is a drug. Products used to fight pimples are drugs.
While a product that is used for making you look better or smell better is a cosmetic, a product used to protect you, make you well or change the way your body works is a drug.
Is it important to know a product is a drug? Yes it is.
The FDA does not do extensive study on cosmetics but drugs come under an entirely set of guidelines because they may cause deadly allergic reactions or interact with other medications. With drugs companies are required to list ingredients.
What is AHA and why is it a potential problem?
AHA is the abbreviation for alpha hydroxyl acid that lessens wrinkles according to cosmetic producers. They claim it doesn’t show signs of aging as well. However people have complained about burning, bleeding, itching, changes in skin color and swelling to name just some side effects.
There are ways to make the use of AHA safer.
A few ways (although there are others) include buying products that contain 10 percent AHAs or less; buy products with pH of 3.5 or more; do a test on a small patch of skin and immediately see your skin doctor if you have problems.
Ways that you can optimize your cosmetics use include always follow the directions; keep makeup closed tight when not in use; do not share your cosmetics with anyone; don’t add anything to the makeup; throw away makeup if it changes color or develops an odor and do not use eye makeup if you have an eye infection.
So as we research cosmetics we find that while they are beneficial there are many things we should consider.
We must be aware of allergies; we must watch getting illnesses from other people; we must watch for possible drug interactions as well as the quality of the cosmetics.
Cosmetics can be a wonderful asset but as with most everything caution needs to be taken.
“Cosmetics,” Fact Sheet, 2007, FDA Office of Women’s Health
FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 1-888-723-3366