Beauty at a Price: Dangers of Using Cosmetics Daily
Cosmetics and perfumes may make you feel youthful and fresh, but those benefits come at a cost. Studies claim that the prolonged usage of cosmetics can not only cause irreparable damage to the skin but also lead to the development of chronic illnesses such as cancer and asthma.
The spectrum of products that can have this effect include deodorants, talcum powders, lipsticks and skin creams.
Dr T.P.S. Bhandari, an oncologist, says, “40 per cent of the people in our country suffer from allergic reactions, and yet we continue to use cosmetics to a large extent. It is a little known fact that fragrances can cause asthmatic problems as well as
skin eruptions. We can never tell what components are used to add fragrance to our creams, deodorants and other products.”
Medical experts say that the aerosols in deodorants pose a health hazard. Researchers are looking into the cell damage caused by them.
“Aerosols sprayed directly on the skin cause damage to the cellular molecules, which in turn damage the DNA,” said Dr Bhandari.
Dermatologists say that the keratin used in skin creams as anti-ageing molecules can cause severe allergic reactions.
“Sometimes cosmetics cause rashes, but these are treatable. They often disappear when the patient stops using the cream. However, some creams cause permanent pigmentation, said Dr Gavvala Manmohan, a dermatologist.
Absorption of chemicals via skin can lead to a variety of cancers
Cosmetics are known to contain artificial and synthetic components which are potentially damaging to the skin.
“Cosmetics are not a healthy choice, but one cannot stop using them. It is advisable to use the products in moderation, and only when absolutely necessary. Long-term exposure can lead to the accumulation of toxic materials in the skin, which can cause skin cancer,” said Dr Priyanka Nair, a city-based dermatologist.
Oncologists said that petroleum based products have carcinogenic properties. Other cancer causing agents that are found in cosmetic products include lead, sodium laureth sulphate, siloxane, phthalates and triclosan
Dr Srinivas Chilukuri, an oncologist, said, “Baby powder was recently found to have carcinogenic properties. It was said to cause ovarian cancer because of the talc component which gets absorbed by the skin.”
Dr Nair said that lead, which has been used in lipsticks for quite some time, is extremely harmful. “Lead can be absorbed through the skin and once it gets into the system, it can cause bladder cancer. It can also cause skin cancer.”
The absorption of harmful chemicals through the skin can lead to a variety of cancers. “The carcinogens in cosmetics will take years before they can affect the body, but repeated usage will lead to accumulation and causes internal cancers such as ovarian, cervical, blood and lung cancer,” Dr Ganesh Kaishetwar, an oncologist, said.
Although the labels on cosmetic products warn against possible reactions with the skin and the eyes, the chronic side effects are not highlighted. Dermatologists say that since most cosmetics do not fall under the category of drugs, their production and sale is not governed by any regulatory body.
This means that many harmful agents are freely used in the processing and preservation processes. Doctors warn against the use of artificial fragrances and perfumes which may contain harmful chemicals including phthalates. They say that natural essential oils may be used as safer alternatives.
Disclaimer: Echemi reserves the right of final explanation and revision for all the information.