Cosmetics are comprised of a combination of various chemical substances extracted from either synthetic materials or natural sources. Many cosmetics can be categorized as cosmetic products, health products, and cosmetic medicines. A wide range of cosmetics and skin care products are available in the market today.
Cosmetics are made up of numerous ingredients that are generally used for treating, preventing, protecting, or improving many physical aspects of the human body. Some of the most common components used in cosmetics and other personal care products are humectants, emollients, surfactants, antioxidants, preservatives, pH stabilizers, and lubricants. Some cosmetics may also contain antibacterial substances such as triclosan, triclocoxazone, or triclonethyl hexane. Cosmetics also commonly contain preservatives, which prevent the chemicals mentioned above from becoming contaminated with human carcinogens, birth defects, and other health hazards. Common cosmetic ingredients such as mineral oil, dioxane, parabens, fragrance, and polyethylene glycol (PEG) are commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products son 3CE.
Many cosmetic companies claim that all the chemicals mentioned above are completely safe because the concentrations of the chemicals in these cosmetics are below the maximum allowed levels by the Food and Drug Administration. However, it is the responsibility of the consumer to make sure that these claims are not true. The State of California has explicitly stated that chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products cannot be deemed safe unless data provided by independent, third-party studies have determined that there is no probability of carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, or reproductive toxicity.
The most common chemicals that are used in cosmetics and skin care products are pigments, dyes, preservatives, fragrance, and lubricants. Pigments occur naturally in plants and manmade pigments consist of colors like blue and yellow. Dyes occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, and other foods. Preservatives occur naturally in vitamins and other nutritional supplements and in some forms of medical equipment.
The most common active ingredient in cosmetics products is zinc oxide, which is commonly included in lotions, creams, and facial creams. Zinc oxide is a strong sunscreen that protects against both sunburns and damage from UV rays. It is considered somewhat safe, but because it is a metal, it can interfere with the functioning of medical devices if it is applied to the interior surfaces of medical devices. Some creams contain moisturizers that also contain zinc oxide, although this ingredient has been found to cause a mild reaction in some people.
Other common chemicals found in cosmetics and personal care products are stabilizers, thickeners, emulsifiers, and surfactants. Aromatherapy oils and creams that contain fragrance oils or preservatives can also be added to cosmetics. However, these ingredients are generally considered safe when used as directed, but should never be combined with other ingredients, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. If you are currently taking medications that you are unsure about, or have an underlying medical condition, talk to your doctor before mixing any cosmetics, herbal supplements, or medications with your current medicines.