Published on my aromatherapy blog 1/2007
This article succinctly captures one of my biggest pet peeves...the apparent disconnect, for most of us, between what goes in our bodies and what goes on our bodies. The consumer who stated that she uses Dove soap in response to an allergic reaction is especially troubling. Has anyone read the label for a bar of Dove lately? Below is the ingredient list for Dove's sensitive skin bar. I've highlighted the natural ingredients but sodium tallowate, though natural, is rendered animal fat which can dry the skin and coconut acid is a vague term that can mean a lot of things natural or un-natural.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Coconut Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Chloride, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosewood Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Rose Oil, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).
Get past skin deep: Consumers too easily buy into personal-care
Chicago Sun-Times, Mar 12, 2006 by Leigh Grogan
We're pretty picky when it comes to what we eat and drink. But when it comes to our personal-care products and cosmetics -- cleansers, toners, shampoo, body lotion, eye shadow, sunscreen, foundation -- we plunk down the cash (about $35 billion a year) and forget about it.
Moisturizers have earned our trust and loyalty more than milk. If they're sold in a drugstore or a department store -- and all the better, endorsed by a gorgeous celebrity -- they must be OK. Plus, we believe in the names -- L'Oreal, Olay, Estee Lauder, Neutrogena.
Still, if we had to, could we decipher the ingredients? Get a load of these: "tridecyl stearate," "triethanolamine" and "methylparaben."
Increasingly, there's a push to give users of the estimated 8 billion personal-care products and cosmetics in the United States the tools and the knowledge to learn.
From new legislation to consumer-based Web sites, we're getting more ways to find out what is going on our bodies as well as what's going in them.
While no one is saying that what we keep in our bathrooms is going to kill us, watchdog groups are applauding such endeavors to educate consumers.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates the personal-care and cosmetics industries. Unlike the FDA's authority over drugs and medical devices, its oversight over cosmetics is less intensive. Cosmetics and their ingredients -- except for colors -- are not subject to FDA pre-market approval.
Pretty packaging and promises of newfound youth in a jar can go a long way to distract consumers from the label.
"The marketing that goes on in this [the cosmetics] industry can be upsetting at best and unlawful at worst," says Dr. Julia Hunter, a skin specialist in Los Angeles.
"Most of what's in personal-care products are fillers with no therapeutic benefits," she asserts. "You might as well drink a bunch of water [for the health of your skin] and buy something cheap."
Some consumers will turn to either a trained aesthetician or a dermatologist if trouble does erupt. Rene Monero, director of aesthetics education and treatment development at Gene Juarez Salons and Spas in Seattle, says the No. 1 condition she sees is sensitive skin that's red or flushed. Sometimes it's an allergic reaction to a product.
Because of some skin issues she was experiencing, Linda Shultz, 41, of Sacramento, Calif., began looking more closely at her face and body products.
"Before, I switched around products and didn't look at the labels," Shultz says. "After my itchy skin developed, I started looking at what was in the products . . . particularly the first several ingredients."
Now, Shultz has a specific regiment: a sea salt mixture for her body, Dove soap and Jason Natural Cosmetics hand lotion.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Some tips from the experts:
-Cosmetics guru and author Paula Begoun: "Never buy a product claiming to contain antioxidants or fancy ingredients [such as plant extracts] and that comes in a jar. These ingredients don't like air and sunlight; sticking your finger in [the container] contaminates the product. Opt for tubes and pumps."
- Dr. Julia Hunter, Los Angeles: "When you visit a cosmetics counter, always ask to see the box the product comes in because that's usually where the ingredients are listed, not on the bottle or jar. If you shop in open-sell stores [drugstores, supermarkets], read the ingredients label before buying."
- Dr. Suzanne Kilmer, director, Laser and Skin Surgery Center, Northern California: "If you experience sensitive or irritated skin, and you use dryer sheets, stop using them. Most people don't realize that the fibers [in the sheets] are coated with perfume."
-Carrie Stern, Quick & Simple magazine: "Look for products that have SPF (sun protection factor) 15 or higher and contain physical blockers like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide."
For more information, check:
Scripps Howard News Service
Copyright CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 2006Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.