Updated: Dec 13, 2020
The beauty industry has an ugly secret: Most skin care products contain harmful chemicals that could potentially harm your health, and even make aging worse. Your makeup, face cream, skin moisturizer, or cleanser may deliver short-term smoothness and brightness, but it also may disrupt your hormones, expose you to cancer-causing chemicals, and deliver dangerous toxins that age your skin.
In the U.S., beauty products are regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines such products as, “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.”
While companies must ensure their products are safe, they are not required to do any premarket testing or submit safety data to the FDA before selling a product. In other words, although cosmetic and beauty products are regulated by the FDA, there is no FDA approval required for any ingredient or combination of ingredients, other than color additives. The FDA has only banned a few specific chemicals from cosmetic products, which are listed on their website.
When it becomes apparent a particular chemical is harmful to health or the environment, consumer pressure often leads companies to remove certain chemicals from their products. You often see companies advertising their products as paraben-free or phthalate-free, for example. Become educated about which ingredients are harmful and avoid them.