Chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products are known to cause contact dermatitis in a growing number of people and are absorbed into the blood stream, causing various effects in the body. You may have noticed them on the labels of the products you use: parabens, phthalates, triethanolamine, methylisothiazolinone and many more. They are difficult to pronounce, but are they safe?
A recent Australian study examined one of these chemicals and found that it was a common cause of contact dermatitis. They reported that the typical person has in their home at least 8 products that contain it. It is found in many common products, including shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, moisturisers and wet wipes used to change babies’ nappies. In Europe it is allowed to be used in rinse off products only because of its propensity to cause dermatitis, but no such legislation exists in Australia.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and an effective barrier between you and the outside world. However it does allow the absorption of many chemicals, including those found in personal care and cosmetic products. Some are “generally regarded as safe” but scientists still say that more research is needed as animal studies link these chemicals to chronic diseases. Others are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals, which means they interfere with the action of hormones. The Endocrine Society cautions against their widespread use due to the potential for effects on systems in our bodies including reproduction, thyroid, insulin and glucose.
The bottom line is this: We think these chemicals are safe, but cannot be absolutely sure. We know they are irritants to the skin and could potentially cause more harm. So the use of such chemicals makes no sense if they can be avoided. There are effective, chemical free alternatives to most household, cosmetic and personal care products available on the market. Please ask us in the pharmacy if you would like to know more about the options.