I subscribe to the FDA’s mailing list where they detail problems with products. There is usually something going wrong somewhere so alerts come through most days, and getting several on the same day is not unusual. It is pretty rare for cosmetics to trigger off the alarm bells. I am sure that people in the cosmetic business are just as error prone as those in any other walk of life, but it just happens that by the standards of consumer products cosmetics are pretty safe. Nobody knowingly uses hazardous ingredients in cosmetics – there is simply no reason to do so. And the skin is a pretty good barrier anyway so you would be unlikely to come to any harm in the unlikely event of anything accidentally ending up in a cosmetic anyway. Continue reading
The FDA have just announced that some organic face cream is being recalled. I’ll refrain from mentioning the name, though the story is in the public domain so anyone interested enough can track it down themselves with a bit of googling. The recall was initiated by the company themselves who have owned up that the face cream not only contains argan and pomegranate, it also contains mould.
Well you don’t get much more natural than that. Continue reading
Since the nineties the European Union’s cosmetic legislation has required that all cosmetic and personal care products placed on the market should be assessed for safety by a suitably qualified person. I am not sure what the exact thinking behind this was. As cosmetics had not been particularly unsafe before that, the intention must have been simply to reassure consumers. But as almost nobody outside the industry knows about the existence of these assessments, I have a feeling that the general public has not been particularly reassured. Given how much work and effort goes into them this really is a bit of a shame. So I thought I’d do a blog post to help spread this knowledge a little. Continue reading
The number of brands cashing in on the supposedly harmful effects of chemicals continues to grow. Australian organic skincare company is one of many, and it goes to the trouble of explaining its philosophy in some detail on its website. They make the claim that they are not only natural but are more effective than conventional products. They put this as stridently as possible, saying it is “FINALLY POSSIBLE, TO ACHIEVE REAL BEAUTY RESULTS WITHOUT HARMFUL CHEMICALS.” Continue reading
Big corporations are run for profits and are not too scrupulous about how they seek them. We have seen tobacco companies ignore the health of smokers. Big chemical companies have pushed lead into petrol. Mining companies leave the public to foot the bill for clearing up the mess their operations create. The list goes on. Cosmetic companies are no different ethically from any other type of corporation. As it happens there are almost no serious health effects arising from the cosmetic business. But this is not because their standards are higher – it is simply a fact that cosmetics are pretty safe. If that gives those of us involved in selling them any kind of moral high ground, well we throw it away pretty quickly by the outrageous claims we make for them. It is very hard to do anybody any harm via the skin – but it is equally hard to do much good either. Continue reading
I’ve been a loyal reader of your blog for quite some time and enjoy the reliable advice you give as a professional. Therefore I would like your opinion on something that has been bothering me for a while.
I’m an avid user of fake tan (wear it basically all the time) and lately I’ve seen more and more formulas containing DMI (dimethyl isosorbide) as an “accelerator” or skin penetration enhancer. This promotes the absorption of DHA into the skin.
Now my question is whether this DMI also takes the DHA deeper into the skin and possibly even into the bloodstream. The reason I’m asking this is the fact that there have been a few scientific studies that have shown a link between DHA and free radicals or DNA damage. This worries me a bit and makes me wonder whether I should avoid fake tan products containing DMI.
Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!
Hope to hear from you soon,
Charlene Continue reading
I am a big fan of being green. I’d love to see a lot more progress in that direction in the cosmetics industry and I am very happy to report on a company that according to a report in the trade journal Happi, is doing just that. Toms of Maine have just issued a report on their project to lighten the load they place on the planet and it makes interesting reading. Continue reading
You can clean your hair with just about anything. But if you want a rich creamy foam to make it an enjoyable experience, there is one ingredient that you really must have. Any good formulator will tell you that for a decent shampoo you really need to have a fair slug of cocamide DEA in it. Nothing quite matches the performance this surfactant gives. Consequently it has been one of the major ingredients in mass market and specialist shampoos and washes for years. Continue reading
Another day, another scare story. This one suggests that ingredients in anti-ageing creams can affect the development of unborn children causing autism. Well, nothing is totally impossible. But this one seems a bit more far fetched than most. The research has found that brain development can be affected by high levels of lipids. This doesn’t seem particularly surprising to me. Brain development is a highly delicate process. Disrupting it shouldn’t be too difficult. And lipids are certainly used in anti-ageing creams. So should we start to worry? Let’s have a look at what lipids are first. Continue reading
I am afraid this is old news, though as it happens new to me. I am not sure how I missed it but it turns out that a very large and well conducted survey was carried out into the link between antiperspirants and breast cancer. It was done in 2002 by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and is explicitly inspired by internet rumours about such a link. Continue reading