Understanding How Cosmetic Chemicals Shape Beauty

Chemicals and Materials

Posted by Nathan /27 Oct, 2023 / Chemicals and Materials

Cosmetics are used for either grooming or cleansing of a human body on daily basis. Color cosmetics conceal flaws, define features, and enhances complete physical appearance, by making skin look refreshed, and healthier. Some of the major cosmetics include body lotions, concealer, face cream, hair dye, lipstick, make-up products, moisturizing creams and lotions, perfume, soap, and shampoo among others.  Some of the major ingredients used in cosmetic chemicals are antioxidants, colors, fragrances, emollients, emulsifiers, humectants, moisturizers, free radicals, preservatives, sebum, thickeners, polyphenols, and water. 

There are natural and synthetic cosmetic chemicals. Natural cosmetic chemicals are made from plants, animals, and the sea. It includes sea-based algae, essential oils, inorganic oxides, inorganic salts, natural emollients, natural dyes, natural emulsifiers, benzoic acid, benzoic acid salts, benzyl acid, salicylic acid. Synthetic cosmetic chemicals are substances manufactured or prepared by a chemical process. They contain chemically altered substances originating from animal, plant, or mineral sources. Synthetic cosmetic chemicals such as imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, petroleum jelly, propylene glycol, PVP copolymer, VA copolymer, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearalkonium chloride, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrances, and diethanolamine are considered toxic for human skin and body organs.
Some of the industrial chemicals that find application as cosmetic chemicals are ammonium lauryl sulfate, talc, formaldehyde, alcohols, lanolin, mineral oil, mineral waxes, petrolatum, among others. Ammonium lauryl sulfate has the property of the anionic surfactant. Hence, it finds application in cosmetics such as cleansing agents and haircare shampoos. Talc finds application in concealers, and face powders. Formaldehyde has application in hair care products, skin moisturizers, soaps, conditioners, and shower gel among others.  Perfumes contain alcohol as the major ingredient. Glycols find use as a substance for avoiding moisture loss. Alcohols also have cosmetic applications such as fresheners, thickeners, texturizers, toners, and suntan lotions among others. Lanolin has use as an additive in skincare and haircare products. It is also used as a thicker moisturizing agent. Mineral oils have application as a cheap moisturizing agent in makeup and skincare products.  Mineral oils are made from highly processed, purified, and refined petroleum. Some of the mineral waxes that find use in cosmetics are ceresin, microcrystalline wax, ozokerite, and paraffin. As ceresin attains stable emulsions, it has application in creams, lipsticks, and haircare products. The liquid form of Paraffin is a cleansing and hydrating agent. It finds use in hair and skin care products. Petrolatum is a jelly cosmetic chemical obtained from petroleum and it is used for making skin lotions and cosmetics. 

Cosmetic chemicals can create side effects on the human body. Prolonged exposure to cosmetics with cosmetic chemicals can lead to headaches, the creation of permanent dark circles, and eye diseases such as dry eye, glaucoma, infective conjunctivitis, and uveitis among others. Cosmetic chemicals can cause acne and the clogging of the skin pores. Likewise, it can make skin dry or oilier. Chemicals present in the lipstick can cause lead poisoning. Cosmetic chemicals present in hair care products can damage hair, expedites hair fall, increase dandruff, cause scalp redness, and thinning of hair among others. Cosmetic chemicals can expedite the ageing of the skin due to loss of natural texture and moisture. Harmful additives present in cosmetics can create allergenic skin conditions and skin discoloration.  Some chemicals present in cosmetic products comprise ingredients that can cause cancer, neurological conditions, endocrine disorders, and developmental delays. Benzophenone ultraviolet filters can cause endometrioses and disrupt hormones. Toluene present in nail products is toxic to the nervous system, brain and it affects developing fetuses as well. Formaldehyde can create allergic reactions and irritation to the respiratory system and eyes. Mercury present in skin lighteners can create kidney ailments, harm the developing fetus, and critically impact the nervous system. 

The emergence of natural and organic cosmetics has had a significant impact on cosmetics worldwide. They are projected as a safer alternative to cosmetic chemicals-based products. The increasing awareness, among cosmetic users, about the side effects of cosmetic chemicals on the human body, is negatively affecting the sales of chemicals-based cosmetic products.

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