“Almost one million Canadians, mostly women, are harmed each year because of bad reactions to the cosmetics and toiletries they use to cleanse their bodies and rejuvenate their skin. According to documents from Health Canada, consumers frequently suffer bad reactions-ranging from minor to severe because they don’t know what is in their personal care products”.12

“Artificial colourings derived from coal tar are found in eye shadow, lipstick and blush and have been implicated in cancer and allergic reactions. Cream foundations can contain formaldehyde and silica, which have both been shown to cause harm. Parabens, which are preservatives, are in most moisturizers, even though they are skin and eye irritants and mimic the hormone, estrogen. Cosmetics have been found to be rich in cancer-causing impurities. Some ingredients are just plain irritating: The same chemicals we coat our skin with are also used in industrial manufacturing to grease cars, clean industrial equipment and stabilize pesticides.”13

A woman may ingest more than four pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. That means 4 pounds of oils, petroleum, waxes, coal tar, dyes, acid, fragrance and lanolin. 14    Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Mascara contains petroleum distillates, shellac, strong irritants, preservatives; Blush’s main ingredient is talc, a carcinogen, and also contains pore clogging mineral oil and propylene glycol, a neurotoxin and skin sensitizer; Foundations are loaded with toxic chemicals and are the 3rd leading cause of contact dermatitis among user; Face powder contains talc which can be in haled; and the list goes on.

Might be a good idea to check the label on some of the stuff you are putting on your face. Oh but wait a minute, most of it isn’t even listed or you will need a magnifying glass to read the ingredients or a pharmacist to explain to you what they are.  Canadians spend an estimated $5.3 billion annually on beauty care.15   No wonder the companies who are making profits don’t want to tell us about the risks posed by personal-care products.

Don’t panic— we have a place where you can check out the specific products you are now using, along with some suggestions of some less toxic alternatives.

Another thing to remember for those scent sensitive people is that according to Health Canada: when labelling cosmetics, fragrance free means that there have been no fragrances added to the product. Products labelled as “unscented” may actually contain ingredients that are used to mask or hide the smell of other ingredients.

12 – The Ottawa Citizen, March 5 2006
13 – The great cosmetics debate
14 – Guide to Less Toxic Products, Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia
15 – The great cosmetics debate