• Dr. Jennifer Taylor

Chemicals and Cosmetics

I recently watched a video posted on Facebook about the amount of chemicals that are used in hair care products that are marketed ad sold to black women. I was quite disturbed to learn that there is essentially no regulation of what goes into beauty products and cosmetics. A study referenced during the interview found that a lot of the harmful ingredients found in the products were not even listed on the label. Wow. Most disturbing was the fact that some of the chemicals that were discovered in the products are known endocrine disruptors.

What is an endocrine disrupter? Any chemical or substance that can affect your body’s hormones. Disruptors can mimic your body’s natural hormones like estrogen, they can cause increased production of hormones, and they can block receptors that our bodies naturally target so that the hormones do not function the way that they are supposed to. Parabens are an example of known endocrine disrupter that is readily found in beauty products such as shampoo and conditioners.

The chemicals in lye and no lye relaxers are sodium hydroxide and calcium hydroxide, which are strong irritants of skin and eyes. These are the ingredients that cause the burning of your scalp when it comes in contact with the relaxer. However, scalp burns are not the worst potential injury to your health. Sodium hydroxide is considered a moderate hazard ingredient by the Cosmetics Database due to concerns regarding its role in cancer and moderate concerns about its ability to damage nerves and cause damage and irritation to internal organs.

The EPA website specifically states that “Very few chemicals have been tested for their potential to interfere with the endocrine system. Current standard test methods do not provide adequate data to identify potential endocrine disruptors (EDs) or to assess their risks to humans and wildlife.” So as consumers, we don’t even know what we don’t know.

No one is checking what’s in the beauty products that we use every day—shampoos, conditioners, gels, detanglers, lipstick, foundation, mascara, etc. The list goes on and on. We’re just trusting that these products are safe because we’ve been using them for years. If they weren’t safe, then they wouldn’t be on the market, right? This EPA statement shows that this assumption clearly isn’t true.

What can you do? Look at the ingredients in the products that you buy. Look for shampoos and conditioners that are paraben free. Make your own lotion, lip balm, shampoo, and conditioner. The internet is full of recipes for great body products that you can make from ingredients that are already in your kitchen. Support brands and businesses that make cosmetics and body products that are free of harsh chemicals. Strongly consider not relaxing your hair.

Mangori body products are made free of artificial dyes and preservatives. We use organic ingredients whenever possible and choose unrefined (raw) oils and butters in all of our products. While a pop of color certainly makes products appealing to the eye, it is often the dyes in commercially made beauty products that cause skin irritation. That’s why all of our products are essentially the same color and texture, regardless of the scent they carry.

Our products were created for dry, itchy, or sensitive skin and for people with conditions like eczema, minor skin injuries, and psoriasis. Dyes, preservatives, and fragrance can worsen these conditions. With that in mind, each Mangori product is available in an unscented form, eg “Naked Butter” so that those with sensitive skin can enjoy quality products without the potential for fragrance irritating the skin.

Try Mangori body products and make your skin smooth like butter baby!

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