Dangers of Beauty Products

Sophia Goussetis

  • Your skin is your largest but also your thinnest organ in the body. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from its toxins. Since your skin is very permeable, anything you put on your skin will end up in your bloodstream, and will be distributed throughout your body. Which can cause harmful effects if the ingredients are not safe.

How are these ingredients harmful?

There are many ingredients that go into health and beauty products. Most of them can be potentially dangerous to your body and it is important to know what these harmful products are, how they can negatively impact your body, and how you can protect your self from them. A list of these ingredients and their effects are as followed,

-Paraben is a chemical found in underarm deodorants and other cosmetics that has been shown to mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, which can effect the growth of breast tumors.

-Musks used in fragrances, can accumulate in your body which have been linked to skin irritation, hormone disruption, and cancer in laboratory studies.

-Methylisothiazolinone (MIT), a chemical used in shampoo to prevent bacteria from developing, which may have detrimental effects on your nervous system.

-Hair dyes studies have suggested that ingredients in them--specifically coal tar bases can cause leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

-For decades, cosmetic companies have made products containing chemical compounds that have been linked to reproductive birth defects and cancer. The compounds are phthalates (pronounced THA-laytes) and they help cosmetics adhere without smudging.

-Phthalates are added to keep a long-lasting fragrance, but they can potentially lead to cancer.

Once these chemicals make its way into your body, they may accumulate over time because you lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. When you add up daily exposure over the course of a long period of time, this adds up to an untold amount of chemical exposures.

Interesting facts


1) What percent of products have not been evaluated for safety?

2) How does knowing that skin is very permeable, effect what you put on your body?

3) Why is it important to be cautious of what products you use?

4) How can you prevent yourself from the effects of harmful products?

5) What is an example of a company that improved their products and how did they do it?


A way to prevent dangers to your body is to avoid fragrances in skincare products because they are the main cause of irritation and allergies. Also, there has been an ongoing debate about whether parabens cause cancer, so protect yourself from the chance by avoiding the ingredient overall. An example of a company that used prevention in a positive way is the company, The bee's knees: Nectar Beauty Shop. This company's commitment was that it uses natural sourced ingredients that are backed by years of safe usage. Nectar uses synthetic replacements and, if possible, pure ingredients which are close to their natural source. They give priority to the research and development of natural based products which are environmentally friendly and don't rely on the use of finite natural resources. More and more company's should do similar to the Nectar business. Besides not using any products with harmful ingredients, a way to prevent oneself in by using products from brands such as these/

Real life Example

  • Johnson & Johnson, which makes personal care products such as baby shampoo, acne cream and anti-wrinkle lotion, announced plans to remove some of the potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, from their products, becoming the first major consumer products company to make such a widespread commitment. The company also plans to take out other ingredients that have been linked to health problems, including phthalates, which have a variety of uses, like lessening the stiffening effects of hair spray; several fragrance ingredients; and triclosan, an antibacterial substance used in soaps. Johnson & Johnson will remove all parabens, a type of preservative, from baby products and some other parabens from its adult products. With these ingredients removed it is now safer to use these items without the negative effects. It is companies like these that may slowly improve the well being of humans. Other companies similar to Johnson and Johnson should consider removing harmful ingredients as well.