What the FDA Doesn't Tell you About Cosmetics

Chemicals in Nail Polish

Majority of the people believe that the FDA is doing a good job in regulating what goes into our food, but recent waves of documentaries and studies have shown differently. People equally trust that regulation of cosmetics and personal care products are safe and trustworthy. However if you take the time to read ingredient labels on cosmetic products you will find some shocking ingredients. Though there is an approval process that regulates the products before they hit the market, it is insufficient as the FDA only regulates color additives and ingredients that are flagged as over the counter drugs.

Precautions are needed even in the case of “organic” products. Organic products are usually not always all organic. Legally, companies can label a product as organic if the product contains a minimum of 70% certified organic ingredients. 30% still leaves plenty of room for toxins. The entire industry uses the “innocent-till-proven-guilty” approach. Chemicals deemed safe by the FDA are classified as GRAS or generally recognized as safe. Since the industry is not as regulated as we are lead to believe, consumers are left to use their judgment when choosing products. Here is the list of some of the chemicals that you should avoid outright.

Coal Tar

It is a carcinogen and is popularly listed in the ingredients label as FD&C Red No. 6. Coal tar is banned in EU, but is still used in North America to treat dry skin, dandruff and lice.


Popularly used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, soaps and body washes. These ingredients may increase risk for cancer, especially with repeated and prolonged use


It is commonly found in nail products, fake eyelash adhesive, shampoos and hair dye. Formaldehyde is listed as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


This is used in beauty products to lighten skin. Hydroquinone is banned in EU and is rated as the most toxic EWG’s Skin Deep database. It is also linked to cancer development and reproductive toxicity.


You can find lead in many lipstick and hair dye. Unfortunately it is not listed since it is a contaminant and not an ingredient.


You can find this heavy metal in mascara and many eye drops. Studies have shown that it impairs brain development.

Mineral Oil

You are going to find this in almost all top brand baby oil, styling gels and moisturizers. It is a petroleum byproduct and crates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.


It is an active ingredient that is found in sunscreen. It is found to accumulate in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, cellular damage and hormone disruption and low birth weight.

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