Skin and personal care products are made up of various ingredients meant to nourish and moisturize the skin barrier. However, have you stopped to read the label from some of your favorite products and realize that some ingredients may actually be harmful? — Harmful enough to cause cancer.
It turns out that the laws governing the skin care and cosmetics industry are actually pretty limited—you'll be surprised to find out that some cancer-causing ingredients are still allowed in beauty products today. How do you make sure you're not buying one of these harmful products? By reading the ingredient list! We understand that the words that makeup some of these ingredients are not easy to understand or even easy to pronounce. For that reason, we put together a list to help you recognize them the next time you go shopping.
A Brief Overview of Current Regulations.
Before getting started, it should be mentioned that though there are regulations, these products are not tested for their safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not pre-approve cosmetics or their ingredients before they go on the market; unless a color additive is on the list or upon receiving a complaint from consumers, will the FDA step in to investigate.
Companies’ Roles Under FDA Regulations.
Cosmetic manufacturers are responsible for making sure their products and ingredients are safe prior to any form of marketing. Additionally, they are trusted to ensure themselves they are not utilizing prohibited or restricted ingredients, and/or staying within the indicated range when it comes to those types of ingredients - do you see the potential loophole? And the gray area for consumers?
Research Identifies a Long List of Cancer-Linked Ingredients.An intergovernmental agency and part of the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conducts and coordinates research internationally for cancer. It classifies carcinogenic chemicals into five levels. Group one lists 113 known human carcinogen agents; at least 11 of those agents were or are currently being found in personal care products. These agents include: arsenic, benzene, cadmium and its compounds, chromium, coal tar, crystalline silica, ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, methylene glycol, mildly treated or untreated mineral oils, or quartz.
A List of Carcinogenic Ingredients Found in Skin Care Products:
- Coal Tar
- Ethylene Oxide
- Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
- Methylene glycol
- Heavy Metals
- Mildly or Untreated mineral oils
- Cadmium and its derivatives
The Harmful Effects of These Ingredients.
Some health concerns these chemicals can cause include but are not limited to, cancer, ecotoxicity, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and bioaccumulation. These are scary! Make sure to read the label and stay away from cosmetics with these chemicals and preservatives (diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol, quaternium-15).