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Cosmetics and harmful substances in them: fictions and facts

hair cosmetics

Decorative cosmetics and body care products should make us more beautiful and healthier.Consumers often come across the trick of advertisers and acquire a similar product, without completely studying its composition.Meanwhile, doctors and scientists claim that in the composition of cosmetics there are substances that can have an extremely negative impact on health.There is also a downside to the medal: in pursuit of fashionable "ECO" and organic products, we begin to believe in rumors about the harm of those components that have been used for decades in the manufacture of cosmetics and in fact are not at all dangerous to human health.

Let's try to figure out which substances in cosmetics can actually be harmful to us, and which ones - not.

Table of contents: Basic components of cosmetic products Components in cosmetics that can cause allergy

Basic components of

cosmetics There are a number of components that are necessarily present in every cosmetic product. These include:

  • natural fats - cocoa butter, cod liver oil, lanolin and others;
  • Synthetic( or semi-synthetic) fats - for example, castor oil, chitosan, gelatin and others.

The task of these components is to maintain the moisture level in the skin and its fat balance, nutrition.They are perfectly preserved on the surface of the skin and in theory should cope with the tasks.But if the cosmetics have been chosen incorrectly, these same components have a negative effect - stop / slow the respiratory processes in the skin, disturb the state of its water balance and the processes of removing harmful substances from the cells.

Another major component is the emulsifiers , which provide a uniform consistency of the cosmetic.If their amount is too high, the use of such cosmetics leads to the drying of the skin, there is a feeling of tightness, the surface begins to peel off - all this brings quite uncomfortable sensations.

The basis of any cosmetic product is biologically active substance .They are designed to enhance the action of the remedy, or they themselves have a beneficial effect on the skin.But the problem lies in the fact that it is the biologically active substances that can cause a powerful allergic reaction, so when choosing a cosmetic product, be sure to look at contraindications to the use and study specific biologically active substances.

Cosmetics-danger-lr To give the cosmetic product a pleasant aroma, the manufacturers must use perfume .They perform only the role of aromatizer , but often it is on them and there are outbreaks of an allergic reaction taking place in severe form.Here you need to take care of yourself - study the makeup of the cosmetic and exclude allergies to certain flavors.

Use of preservatives in cosmetics is also mandatory - they allow prolonging the period of their use.Conscientious producers use quality preservatives that have passed certification, but there are also those who prefer a lower quality of this component - money in this case is decided by them all.And such low-quality preservatives can damage skin cells! What concerns preservatives in cosmetic products:

  • antioxidants - they slow down the process of fat aging in cosmetics;
  • bactericidal components - they destroy those pathogenic microorganisms that can get into cosmetics from the outside;
  • and inactivators of oxidants - they slow down the aging process of almost all ingredients.


Ingredients in cosmetics that can cause allergy

Allergenic ingredients in cosmetics can be natural ingredients, and synthetic.Therefore, doctors strongly recommend to study the make-up of cosmetics, and not to buy widely advertised.

Vaseline( Petrolatum) and liquid petrolatum( Paraffinum liquidum)

Generally, these products are made on the basis of petroleum refined products, among them white and yellow petrolatum are isolated.White Vaseline always goes through many stages of cleaning, is absolutely harmless to health.But yellow petroleum jelly has a much worse quality and is capable of causing an allergic reaction - it is usually added to the cheapest cosmetics.

Talc( Talc)

This component is actively used not only in the manufacture of cosmetics, but also in pediatrics.But if applied too often, talc may provoke dry skin, allergic reactions and even provoke the development of cancerous tumors - these data were published by American researchers.So, scientists have discovered that regular application of powders containing talc to the female genital area increases the risk of developing uterine cancer http: //okeydoc.ru/ rak-shejki-matki /.

Antibacterial Methylchoroisothiazolinone

Even if the concentration of this substance in the cosmetic agent is negligible, it can be irritating to the skin - redness, itching, flaking and small rashes will be permanent when using such cosmetics.The maximum recommended concentration of this substance in washable cosmetics is 0.1% by weight of the product, and in products left on the skin for a long time - 0.05%.In the EU and US countries, the allowable concentration even in washable media is even lower - 0.0015%.

Interesting! In Japan, this preservative is only usable as a component of washable cosmetics.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids( Alpha Hydroxy Acid)

Such components include, for example, lactic acid.Alpha hydroxide acids are used to further purify the skin surface from keratinized cells and dead epidermis.But in addition to such a positive effect, these same substances can break the protective barrier of the skin, and this already leads to the development of dermatitis and other skin diseases.

The US Food and Drug Administration( FDA) warned consumers that alpha hydroxide acids can increase photosensitivity to the sun.

Cosmetic products containing alpha hydroxide acids should be recommended for use by specialists, and applied only in strict accordance with the instructions for use.


This component in several countries is used not only in cosmetics, but even in food and medicine.However, scientific studies have shown that the borax can have a negative effect on the body as a whole and is generally a toxic product.

On December 16, 2010, sodium tetraborate( borax) was added as a "highly hazardous substance( SVHC)" to the list of candidates for particularly hazardous substances.This list is part of the EU rules for the registration, assessment and limitation of chemicals, and the addition is based on a revised classification of borax, as toxic to reproductive category 1B in accordance with the CLP Rules.After listing in this list, all substances and mixtures imported into the EU and containing borax should be labeled with the warnings "May damage fertility" and "May cause harm to the unborn child".


Immediately specify - this quality component used in the manufacture of cosmetics is absolutely harmless to humans.But here's the problem - when using a low-quality lanolin that has been contaminated with pesticides, a powerful allergic reaction may develop, the body will show rashes.

DMDM ​​Hydantoin

This substance serves as a preservative in cosmetics, it provides formaldehyde, which has an antimicrobial effect and prolongs the period of use and storage of cosmetics.The problem is that the same substance can cause allergic reactions, has an irritating effect not only on the skin, but also on the person's airways, negatively affects the condition of the mucous membranes.

Components in Toxic Action Cosmetics

Vred_ot_sampuna Some cosmetic products include toxic substances that can exert a destructive effect on the whole organism.Experts recommend completely abandon the use of such cosmetics, or consult a cosmetologist about the correctness of the application.

Methylisothiazolinone( MIT)

This drug has a powerful antibacterial effect and is used in the manufacture of liquid cosmetics - lotions, gels, shampoos, foams and other.But, according to certain scientists, it is this component that can destroy nerve cells, including the brain.For the sake of justice it is worth noting that the results of these studies have been repeatedly challenged, nevertheless, the discussion is still relevant.

By the way, consumers often confuse the presented drug with Methylchoroisothiazolinone, but their actions are different - the latter only dries the skin and mucous membranes and does not affect the nerve cells at all.


This product belongs to the group of antibacterial, it can be used in the manufacture of soap or in toothpaste as an antiseptic.But the fact is that Triclosan can cause inflammation of the skin, has a toxic effect on the hormonal balance and reproductive functions in general.Experts recommend using cosmetics with this component strictly according to the doctor's prescription.


It is used to achieve the desired pH level in cosmetic products - like everything within the limits of acceptable.But if you use cosmetics for a long time with such a component( this is mascara, sunscreen and nourishing cream), then the immune system of the body will suffer, and the skin and the respiratory tract will be adversely affected.There are data on the relationship of this substance with the risk of developing cancer.

Note that some scientists deny the existence of a link between the development of dermatitis, allergic reaction, etc.With the use of triethanolamine.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate( or SLS, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium salt of laurylsulphonic acid)

Harmful-substances-in-cosmetics They are found in shampoos, body creams, pastes for house cleaning, but are considered too aggressive components.First, it damages the skin and hair - in some cases, the latter may fall out altogether.Secondly, these components can interact with some other ingredients of cosmetics - the result will be the formation of nitrites, which have a toxic effect on the entire body as a whole.

It's worth knowing that some manufacturers mask the component under consideration as "natural raw materials from coconuts" - this is a real lie, because the consumer has the right to know the true composition of any product.It is hardly worth trusting such manufacturers.

We present only a few studies on the effects of SLS on the body:

  • This substance is contraindicated in people with diagnosed atopic dermatitis.
  • With the addition of SLS to toothpaste, this substance provokes the development of stomatitis.
  • When exposed to the skin for an hour or more, sodium lauryl sulfate provokes irritation.


Sodium Laureth Sulfate( or SLES)

This is nothing more than a purifier that is very cheap and creates the illusion of a thick and concentrated shampoo or conditioner.This component causes hair weakening, skin irritation, eye irritation, contributes to the appearance of dandruff.

As-seen-on-photo-at times-all-not-so-as-seem-at-first-look-be-extremely attentive-study Some researchers are convinced that the component under consideration can penetrate deeply into the body and affect even internal organs.However, these statements are controversial.For example, the Department of the Australian Government on health and aging issues denied the possibility of SLES to work on DNA and thus questioned the hypothesis of the carcinogenicity of the substance.

Please note: very often manufacturers indicate on packages that the tool does not contain SLS - this marketing move allows to increase sales, however, on closer examination it turns out that SLES is included in the composition.

Cosmetics and carcinogens

There are such ingredients in cosmetic products that can trigger the degeneration of healthy cells into cancer cells.Specialists recommend to remember these substances and avoid using cosmetic products, in which they are present.

Diethanolamine( or DEA)

Used in foam for bath, gels and milk, ensures the formation of a stable foam.It must be said that this substance is absolutely harmless to human health, but it can come in contact with other substances, in particular with nitrates, which can be contained in water, and as a result will form a powerful carcinogenic component - nitrosamine.Here it is just able to penetrate deep inside and cause the degeneration of healthy cells of internal organs into cancerous ones.

Professor at the University of Illinois School of Public Health Samuel Epstein claims that DEA is easily absorbed through the skin and accumulates in organs, particularly in brain tissues in which it induces a chronic toxic effect.

Important: however, no fundamental studies confirming the carcinogenicity of diethanolamine itself have been carried out.

Monoethanolamine( or MEA)

It is an absorbent that dries the skin and makes it thinner.It would seem that nothing is wrong - many components just so affect the skin.But the fact is that the constant use of cosmetic products with such a component leads to the fact that the risks of development of cancer tumors increase.


Important: as in the case of DEA, carcinogen is not MEA itself, but nitrosamine is a substance that is formed as a result of the chemical reaction of MEA with other reactive substances.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene( or BHT)

This substance is strictly prohibited in some countries - for example, in Japan, Australia, USA, Sweden.Some manufacturers use this component as a preservative - it binds to oxygen and prevents rapid oxidation of fats that make up cosmetic products.Disputes around the carcinogenic effect of BHT are still being conducted.

Instead of concluding

Bio All publications on the Web and loud statements from TV screens should be treated sensibly.Check the information before making any decisions.Products marked as "ECO", "Organic", etc.Cost more than the usual means, however, their safety and effectiveness, as a rule, are not confirmed by anything, as well as the harm of some components, which for some reason are considered dangerous.

In some sources, even salicylic acid is indicated as a carcinogen.But no studies on this issue over the past few years have not been published - hence, it is hardly worth trusting such an opinion.Of course, salicylic acid can have a negative effect on the skin - it dries heavily, which provokes the appearance of early wrinkles and areas of irritation, but this is not a reason to talk about its carcinogenic effect.

Within the limits of one article, unfortunately, it is impossible to cover absolutely all harmful components that can be a part of cosmetic products.Therefore, we recommend that you visit a cosmetologist and consult with him about the use of this or that cosmetics.And, this advice applies not only to synthetic drugs, but also to those that are made with natural ingredients - too often even they cause allergic reactions.If it is a question of a choice of means for children, especially the first year of a life, it is necessary to listen to advice or councils of the pediatrist.

Tsygankova Yana Aleksandrovna, medical reviewer, therapist of the highest qualification

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