Have you ever wondered how beauty products affect your body? You may use up to 12 beauty products daily, including nail polish, makeup, cleansers, or conditioners. It’s easy to assume that the products are safe for human consumption. But that is not always the case. In 2022, Unilever recalled dry shampoos because they may contain benzene, which is carcinogenic.
Most beauty products are only tested for superficial problems like irritation or allergies. However, long-term effects may not be easy to research because many manufacturers want to sell their products as soon as possible. They are only changed after third-party safety tests happen, or customers complain.
To be safe, you need to know which beauty products to avoid.
Which common beauty products have great health risks?
1. Hair dye
Studies show that the increased use of hair dyes increases the risk of breast cancer. People who use permanent hair dye have a 9% chance of developing breast cancer compared to people who don’t. The study also found that the risk increased by 45% for Black women. This is because permanent hair dye may have chemicals that affect hormone balance. The more modern the hair dye, the lower the risk. Avoid hair dyes that contain bisphenol-A or phthalates, which are hormone disruptors and increase the risk of sex hormone-based cancers.
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Permanent hair straighteners have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and uterine cancer. Studies show that the risk is also higher among Black women. Using relaxers with bare hands also increases the risk of exposure. Inhaling the chemicals is also unhealthy. When you use such beauty products, ensure to do it in a well-aerated room. Modern relaxers contain sodium hydroxide and thioglycolic acid salts, which are much safer. Older brands may contain formaldehyde which is also carcinogenic.
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3. UV nail dryers
Gel polishes are popular beauty products because the nail polish doesn’t chip and lasts at least four weeks. Some brands also come with nail hardeners that make it appear that your nails are healthier after you remove the polish for a new treatment. However, gel polish is dried with a UV nail dryer due to its viscosity. And this is where the risk lies.
Research shows that UV nail dryers can damage DNA and increase the risk of skin cancer. When you’re getting a gel manicure, use sunscreen or fingerless gloves on your hands.
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You should wash your hair at least twice every two weeks. However, even shampoos can pose risks to your health. To be safe, ensure that your shampoo doesn’t have the following:
- Sulphates help the shampoo lather. However, Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) can lead to kidney damage and hormone imbalance.
- They help prolong the shelf-life of shampoos. Parabens disrupt hormone balance and irritate the skin. The parabens to avoid are butylparaben, ethylparaben, and methylparaben.
- Triclosan is a banned antibacterial agent that can cause cancer.
- Retinyl palmitate can lead to toxicity, cancer, and reproductive issues.
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Other beauty products you should avoid are mascaras and kohls that contain carbon black. Studies show it’s been linked to cancer. You should also avoid makeup palettes containing PFAS, which can harm developing foetuses, increase cancer risk, and affect your immunity.
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