Silent killers in cosmetics

Archeological analysis reveals that cosmetics have been in use since antiquity. It’s in human nature to care in regards to the situation of our pores and skin and to brighten our physique. Substances used to make cosmetics developed, ranging from charcoal and pure pigments obtained from flowers and leaves to solar blockers, metallic eyeshadows, and fluorescent lipsticks.

Nevertheless, are all of them useful to well being? Sadly, not essentially.

A whole lot of cosmetics compounds could cause critical well being issues and have an effect on the entire organism. Furthermore, a few of them could be even genotoxic. That’s the reason it’s price digging via the checklist of elements if you select different cosmetics in grocery shops. Right here, we current a short assessment of dangerous substances that may be present in cosmetics. Have you ever ever puzzled what number of of them do you will have in your house?

Picture credit score: M. Osial


Are you able to think about a world with out the sweetness business? Most likely not. All of us use numerous kinds of cosmetics. Even when we’re not heavy customers of eyeshadows, hair conditioners,  mascaras, foundations, and nail polish, we use cleaning soap and toothpaste every day. Right this moment’s world is totally dominated by cosmetics.

Their widespread use is unprecedented. Producers create increasingly more fancy cosmetics with enticing labels, nice scents, and good costs. The occasions when folks used just some cosmetics primarily made out of pure compounds like important oils are lengthy gone. Simply check out the typical label of the sunscreen, and you will see that details about the optimistic properties of biologically energetic elements.

Every label, regardless of the kind of cosmetics, from toothpaste and cleaning soap to enzymatic scrub and nail polish, guarantees well being miracles.  Since all of us need to be younger, stunning, and wholesome, we frequently fall for this false promoting. Nonetheless, the purchasers’ information and consciousness about cosmetics’ contents and potential dangers of long-term software will not be as excessive correctly [1].

Creepy hint elements

Important oils and different natural-based compounds are simply an instance of the very lengthy checklist of chemical compounds which might be comparatively secure for our pores and skin. Nevertheless, studying the label of a beauty we could discover many compounds like parabens, SLS, and others that aren’t wholesome for us. Furthermore, cosmetics could comprise traces of very harmful chemical compounds.

Probably the most regarding points is the contamination of cosmetics with heavy metals like arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, lead, and even mercury. All of those have a damaging affect on human well being [2]. Some research have proven that a number of heavy metals can accumulate within the human physique and trigger well being issues [3-6].

Sadly, the toxicity of heavy metals is relative. It strongly is dependent upon the used amount, interval of publicity, and route of absorption. [7]. One other regarding concern is that folks start to make use of cosmetics at a youthful age than up to now, so their organism is extra steadily uncovered to varied probably harmful substances than it must be. That is very true within the case of mascaras, eye pencils, lipsticks, eye shadows, and plenty of different private care merchandise placed on the face and physique every day [8].

Crossing the barrier

Human pores and skin is a pure barrier that protects us from extra water loss, temperature adjustments, the damaging affect of the atmosphere, or some pathogenic microorganisms [9]. Nevertheless, common direct software of cosmetics onto the physique contributes to the rise in pores and skin sensitivity.

Due to this, some elements, like heavy metals, may penetrate the pores and skin and accumulate within the organism [10]. Furthermore, some poisonous components could permeate via mucosa and conjunctiva whereas sporting eye shadows or mascaras. Additionally, when folks use lipsticks or lip glosses, they usually lick off or swallow a few of it by probability, so a lot of the substances contained in these acquire an entry route into the organism [11,12]. After permeating, heavy metals bind and have an effect on tissues. They might even trigger some problems.

The place can we discover heavy metals? Aluminum starch and aluminum compounds are generally utilized in antiperspirants and mattifying cosmetics that soak sebum and sweat from the pores and skin [12,13]. Aluminum can be extensively utilized in foundations, eye shadows, blushing, and plenty of different shade cosmetics.

Heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury are prohibited in cosmetics, but, many pure minerals comprise traces of these components. Arsenic could be discovered together with bismuth within the whitening lotions and whitening pores and skin powders [14]. Lead can happen in lip merchandise, eye shadows, and different shade cosmetics [15], whereas mercury is especially used as a preservative and could be present in skin-lightening merchandise like lotions and powders [16].

In fact, normally, there are solely hint quantities of those metals in cosmetics, however are secure? Let’s take a  nearer have a look at what are the well being impacts of assorted chemical components present in cosmetics.

Toxicity of heavy metals- the way it work?

Lead negatively influences our our bodies in two methods: it has an ionic impression, and it’s related to oxidative stress. The ionic impact derives from the truth that lead ions can substitute some ions which might be wanted in our organisms, equivalent to calcium, iron, sodium, or magnesium ions. Consequently, many organic processes are disturbed [7]. This impact might also induce neoplastic tumor growth [17].

Moreover, it will increase the extent of free radicals which have a damaging affect on tissues, resulting in a lower of antioxidants in cells. This imbalance, known as oxidative stress, is the explanation why natural compounds equivalent to proteins, nucleic acids, or lipids may succumb to wreck.

Cadmium is a heavy factor that’s dangerous to bones. It replaces the calcium, and because the consequence, it might trigger osteoporosis. Its interplay with calcium results in kidney illnesses like hypercalciuria [8]. It additionally results in abdomen issues, together with extraordinarily annoying emesis and diarrhea. If cadmium enters the bloodstream it interacts with the iron inflicting anemia. Sadly, long-term exposition to cadmium could have an infinite impression on our organisms’ features [7].

Arsenic has been well-known for its poisonous properties for a lot of centuries. As reported, this heavy steel enters our organism primarily by chance, throughout ingesting, or consuming [7]. It’s the motive why lip cosmetics could also be probably harmful. Throughout chemical reactions within the organism, it turns into desperately poisonous and prospectively carcinogenic [18].

There are a number of methods of aluminum interpenetrating our our bodies. This heavy steel enters our organism via the pores and skin barrier, respiratory system, however primarily via the digestive system, the place aluminum is absorbed [19]. Afterward, it’s launched to the bloodstream, inflicting a number of problems like anemia.

Aluminum can accumulate in numerous tissues, primarily in bones, muscle tissues, lungs, mind, liver, and kidneys. Furthermore, folks with kidney illnesses are particularly liable to the buildup of this steel [13].

Picture credit score: M. Osial


Killer make-up elements? Sounds spooky! Lengthy publicity to specific metals results in their accumulation within the organism. This may be adopted by a number of problems, so once we select extremely pigmented merchandise like eye shadows it’s higher to decide on these with out the metallic sparkles. Mattifying powders?

There are lots of pure alternate options like bamboo starch or different, pure starches which might be impartial for our pores and skin. What about antiperspirants? For certain it’s higher to decide on aluminum-free and alun free (as alun additionally accommodates aluminum). On the whole, it’s good to learn labels and substitute mineral cosmetics with pure ones and/or scale back the frequency of their use.

This text is a joint work of Mateusz Kolek (School of Biology, College of Warsaw), Urszula Markowska (School of Psychology, College of Wroclaw), Agnieszka Pregowska (Institute of Basic Know-how Analysis, Polish Academy of Sciences), and Magdalena Osial (School of Chemistry, College of Warsaw) as Science Embassy challenge. Figures – M. Osial.


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