Friday, August 19, 2011

Health Care and Cosmetics

Cosmetics have been around for thousands of years. Even the ancient Egyptians used eyeliner to enhance facial features. Very classic. And that was the intent. It was extremely important to them that they looked and smelled good, because the old expression “cleanliness is next to Godliness” is that old – they believed it very strongly. The Egyptians were very "spiritual" people, and believed their appearance was directly related to their level of spirituality. And so they needed to find ways to make themselves look at least presentable, if not fabulous, according to the website TheHistoryof.Net.

The Egyptians were also very resourceful people. Some of the things they came up with were very innovative, even by today’s standards. And cosmetics was one of those things. They had a knack for developing natural formulas to solve their skin challenges. Would you believe that around the fifteenth to the tenth centuries BC, they had cosmetic products that would get rid of stretch marks, shrink wrinkles, get rid of scars, and make hair grow? That’s amazing, when you look at the line of products that’ll do those same jobs today. And today, we seem to need all kinds of research and development programs to come up with the same thing. Perhaps there’s something to be said for natural cosmetics after all. Some of the other cosmetics the Ancient Egyptians used were eye makeup, face creams and body oils, as well as a wide array of perfumes and fragrances.

According to Women'sHealth.gov, Cosmetics are products people use to cleanse or change the look of the face or body. Cosmetic products include:
•Skin creams
•Lotions
•Perfumes
•Lipsticks
•Fingernail polishes
•Eye and face make-up products
•Permanent waves
•Hair dyes
•Toothpastes
•Deodorants

Unlike drugs, which are used to treat or prevent disease in the body, cosmetics do not change or affect the body's structure or functions, according to Women's Health. Fragrances and preservatives are the main ingredients in cosmetics. Fragrances are the most common cause of skin problems. More than 5,000 different kinds are used in products. Products marked “fragrance-free” or “without perfume” means that no fragrances have been added to make the product smell good. Preservatives in cosmetics are the second most common cause of skin problems. They prevent bacteria and fungus from growing in the product and protect products from damage caused by air or light. But preservatives can also cause the skin to become irritated and infected.

Cosmetics are considered safe to most consumers. Serious problems from cosmetics are rare. But sometimes problems can happen, according to Women's Health. The most common injury from cosmetics is from scratching the eye with a mascara wand. Eye infections can result if the scratches go untreated. These infections can lead to ulcers on the cornea (clear covering of the eye), loss of lashes, or even blindness. To play it safe, never try to apply mascara while riding in a car, bus, train, or plane. Sharing make-up can also lead to serious problems. Cosmetic brushes and sponges pick up bacteria from the skin. And if you moisten brushes with saliva, the problem can be worse. Washing your hands before using make-up will help prevent this problem. Sleeping while wearing eye make-up can cause problems too. If mascara flakes into your eyes while you sleep, you might wake up with itching, bloodshot eyes, infections, or eye scratches. So be sure to remove all make-up before going to bed. Cosmetic products that come in aerosol containers also can be a hazard. For example, it is dangerous to use aerosol hairspray near heat, fire, or while smoking. Until hairspray is fully dry, it can catch on fire and cause serious burns. Fires related to hairsprays have caused injuries and death. Aerosol sprays or powders also can cause lung damage if they are deeply inhaled into the lungs.

According to SafeCosmetics.org, the Food and Drug Administration has almost no authority to regulate cosmetics. FDA cannot require safety testing of products before they are sold, and does not systematically assess the safety of ingredients. Instead, the cosmetic industry polices the safety of its own products through a safety panel that is run and funded by the industry's trade association. In the absence of mandated testing or even FDA guidance on product safety, some companies make products safe enough to eat, while other companies routinely add carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals to their formulations. The chemicals present in any one cosmetic product are unlikely to cause harm. But most people do not use just one product. Think about how many products you use in a single day - from toothpaste to soap, shampoo, hair conditioner, deodorant, body lotion, shaving products and makeup - and how many products you use in a year, and over a lifetime. Small amounts of toxic chemicals add up and can accumulate in your body through cosmetic use and through other chemical exposures in food, water and air. Chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects do not belong in personal care products, period.

Major loopholes in federal law allow the $50 billion cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and inadequate labeling requirements. Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are sold to the public. The FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing, according to SafeCosmetics.org.

You may also need to watch certain "all natural" products that contain substances taken from plants. These products may be more at risk for bacteria. Since these products contain no preservatives or have non-traditional ones, your risk of infection may be greater. If you don't store these products as directed, they may expire before the expiration date. For example, cosmetics stored in high heat may go bad faster than the expiration date. On the other hand, products stored the way they should be can be safely used until they expire, according to Women's Health.

There are so many players in the cosmetics game now, like Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Mac Cosmetics, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Avon, Clinique, L’Oreal, Bobbi Brown cosmetics, Victoria Jackson cosmetics – everybody’s getting into the picture with their own lines. And the winner of this cosmetic game is you, the consumer. Whatever type of look you want, whether it’s to cover up, emphasize, illuminate, minimize, enhance or perfect – any look you want can be had with the help of today’s cosmetics, according to The History Of. Cosmetics are products that sell, even when there’s a recession. Women will always find the money for their makeup. And the men don’t mind. After all, they’re the ones who benefit from those good looks. They’re the ones who’ve appreciated the efforts that women have gone to throughout the years, to make themselves “presentable”.

Cosmetics can be useful, but be careful. If you suffer any side effects, contact your doctor or a dermatologist. Using cosmetics definitely can enhance your appearance. Just don't give up your health to have a prettier face.

Until next time.

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