Are Your Skincare Products Safe?
Personal skincare products are applied directly onto the largest, breathing organ – the skin. Do you know what your skincare products are made of? Do they contain harmful chemicals?
According to the Consumers Association Of Penang (CAP), many cosmetics sold today contain a cocktail of cancer-causing chemicals which are absorbed through the skin. A CAP survey found at least 50 cancer-causing chemicals in 120 chemicals and daily use products sold today. By learning to read and understand the labels, you could reduce the risk of exposing yourself to cancer.
According to CAP’s report in Utusan Konsumer May 2002, nearly all scented cosmetic products on the market are made largely or entirely of synthetic chemicals, usually derived from petroleum or coal tar which are known cancer-causing agents.
Nearly one-third of the chemical additives used in perfumes and other scented products are known to be toxic. And just one perfume can contain more than 500 chemicals.
Once in the bloodstream, carcinogens oxidise and accumulate in fatty tissues and cells. These may damage the cell’s genetic program. Once damaged, the cell may die or reprogram itself into a cancer cell. When this mass of cells turn into a cancerous growth, it crowds and affects the other cells or organs, causing pain, symptomatic problems and even death.
Propylene glycol is a common ingredient found in many beauty creams, cleansers and makeup. It is also found in children’s personal care products. It provides a smooth glide upon application. This, of course, is a good reason why it has been included in cosmetics and other personal care items. It makes the skin feel moist and soft, and the products don’t dry out.
Propylene glycol is a colourless, viscous hygroscopic liquid that serves as a substance to help retain moisture content. That’s why some pet foods are soft and chewy.
It is not very safe, however. The American Academy of Dermatologists Inc. published a clinical review in January 1991 that revealed Propylene Glycol causes a significant number of reactions and is a primary irritant to the skin even in low levels of concentrations.
It has been proven that over exposure to propylene glycol:
- has severe adverse health effects and has been found to cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities
- inhibits skin cell growth in human tests
- damages cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin and surface damage to the skin.
- causes irritation of nasal and respiratory passages if inhaled
- causes gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if swallowed.
In the industrial world, this chemical is used in:
- paints and coatings
- floor wax
- portable water systems
- swimming pools
- liquid laundry detergents
- pet food and tobacco
CAP is actively raising awareness of the dangers of carcinogens since 1998. It has published a guidebook on this known as – Cancer Causing Chemicals In Cosmetics & Daily Use Products.
Today, cancer accounts for one in every 10 deaths in Malaysia with lung, nasopharyngeal, colon, breast and cervical cancer topping the list. According to the World Health Organisation’s estimates, between 100 and 180 out of every 100,000 people will develop cancer annually. Using this estimate, Malaysia with a population of 22 million would have between 22,000 to 39,600 new cancer cases per year.
Don’t become a statistic. Take control of the products you use. By refusing to use potentially harmful products, it means you value your health enough to protect yourself.Article contributed by Poh Yong Kuan