• 05
  • 02
  • 03
  • 04
  • 05
  • 05
  • 05
  • 05
  • 05
UNDERMENTIONED SECTOR
Cosmetics

Cosmetics (colloquially known as makeup or make-up) are care substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. They are generally mixtures of chemical compounds, some being derived from natural sources, many being synthetic.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates cosmetics, defines cosmetics as "intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions." This broad definition also includes any material intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product. The FDA specifically excludes soap from this category.

Safety

Cosmetic companies successfully resist regulation by government agencies like the FDA, and have also lobbied against this regulation throughout the years. The FDA does not have to approve or review cosmetics, or what goes in them, before they are sold to the consumers. The FDA only regulates against the colors that can be used in the cosmetics and hair dyes. The cosmetic companies do not have to report any injuries from the products; they also only have voluntary recalls of products.

There has been growing awareness of and preference for cosmetics lacking toxic ingredients, especially those derived from petroleum, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and parabens. Numerous reports have raised concern over the safety of a few surfactants. SLS causes a number of skin problems, including dermatitis.

Parabens can cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis in individuals with paraben allergies, a small percentage of the general population. Animal experiments have shown that parabens have a weak estrogenic activity, acting as xenoestrogens.

Synthetic fragrances are widely used in consumer products. Studies concluded from patch testing show synthetic fragrances are made of many ingredients which cause allergic reactions.

Cosmetics companies have been criticized for making pseudo-scientific claims about their products which are misleading or unsupported by scientific evidence.

Often, though, the speculation of safety of cosmetics originates from scare stories and internet hoaxes unsupported by science. Many ingredients deemed unsafe by the media have been found safe by scientists in the EU where astringent regulations are enforced.