The next time you walk into a beauty store to buy your facewash, sunscreen or moisturiser, watch out — chances are you could be buying something unsafe for your skin. The common ingredients used in cosmetics can dry out the skin. The different lotions meant to make you fair and beautiful have chemicals that can clog the pores and simultaneously hasten the ageing process.
Clever marketing and shrewd advertising tactics tell us that the products are harmless but this can be misinformation. Dr Charulata Bose, consultant dermatologist, Artemis health institute, says that preservatives are used in various cosmetics, mostly in unadulterated form, which can ruin the skin texture. She says that in India, tested products are substituted with cheap ones and the outcome can be serious.
“The most-used products — lipsticks, lotions and foundations — have mineral oil, petroleum, formalin and many other toxic elements. They clog the pores and in many cases they lead to skin cancer and irritation,”she says. She adds that the promises and money-back schemes attract unwary users and they end up with bad skin texture or something worse. According to Dr Shehla Agarwal, consultant dermatologist, most containers deliberately do not list the contents properly. Mentioning herbs without their exact quantity is a ploy to fool the consumer, she says.
India not shining
The same products, these experts say, are sold with a full content list in other countries with stricter regulation. India, they say, needs to follow suit. Their suggestion is that users should apply a product on a test patch, a small patch of skin, to see if there is any reaction. “Also, follow the warnings as prescribed on the product. The stress should be on items that are sure of their effects after patch test,” says Dr Agarwal.
Some harmful ingredients
Sodium lauryl sulphate:A detergent and surfactant found in soaps and shampoos. It makes your skin extremely dry.
Alpha hydroxy acids:Though it is used to prevent wrinkles, it causes serious damage to the skin.
Talc:It is prepared from the mining of talc rocks. If sprinkled on the genital area, it may cause reproductive tract disorders, including infertility.
Formalin:Dead bodies are preserved in it. The main use is in nail polish and skin creams. The fumes produced by this chemical can cause asthma and cancer.
Collagen:This is extracted from animal skins and ground chicken feet, which leads to clogging of the pores.