A November 2007 New York Times article about natural beauty products interviewed USDA spokesperson Joan Schaeffer, who said,
“… people should not interpret … the U.S.D.A. Organic seal on cosmetics as proof
of health benefits or of efficacy.” In fact, the National Organic Program, the
division of the USDA that approves the seal for use on beauty products, simply
certifies that the product contains at least 95% certified organic ingredients. "
Is the FDA our friend: The FDA, regulates cosmetics, and at present, there is no standard regulation for what is considered “natural,” “organic” or “eco-friendly.” Scary, huh? Manufacturers are free to use these terms in ways they see fit to best market a beauty product, regardless of whether the ingredients validate that claim. How many times have you bought into a beauty product's claim and then been sadly disappointed once you got it home?
Warning: This could harm your health. The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental organization, conducted a study in which they tested safety in 10,000 beauty products:
- Approximately 89% of the products had never been tested for safety by the FDA.
- Virtually all of the products contained at least some ingredients that had never been tested.
- One-third of the products contained ingredients that are classified as possible carcinogens.
Brains on beauty: Caveat emptor -- let the buyer beware. Read the labels! Cosmetics companies are required to list the ingredients in their products in descending order of their volume of the product. Skin Deep, a database of cosmetic ingredients, is a great resource for women to dissect the ingredients that might be hidden in the beauty product. (Beware: Some producers try to trick us smart women by changing the name of the ingredient.)
Yes, beauty is skin deep: Every application of a cream, foundation, lip balm that you apply to your skin is being absorbed. You would be shocked by some of the carcinogenic ingredients that were listed on Skin Deep's site. Girl-Woman will provide a list of the worst offenders in her next post.
Sources: New York Times, Environmental Working Group)