A five-pound facial cocktail

Thursday, December 6th 2007, 4:51 pm
By: News 9

Ageless beauty is an unreachable ideal. Still, dozens of makeup and hair products and creams are offered to women every day-promising to slow down the aging process. Can all these cosmetics be bad for you?

Some rumors on the internet state women can absorb up to five pounds of cosmetic chemicals per year. Some scientists are warning women that the amount of chemicals and the combination of some of these products are creating a dangerous cosmetic cocktail. While there is no set approval process for cosmetics in the United States, many still contend cosmetics are safe. 

"Five pounds sounds like an extravagant amount," said Dr. David Graham, a dermatologist in Enid. "And this figure came from an article that was published in England, about a year ago, without any medical or scientific evidence."

Richard Bence, a British biochemist, warned women reading the British newspaper The Telegraph to be wary of using too many cosmetic products. Bence suggested using too many cosmetics being absorbed via skin cells could have detrimental effects.

Medical experts do agree the skin does absorb trace amounts of what we put on ourselves, but it's also a protective organ.

"You know I think we can really worry about a lot of things if we really pay attention to every study we see," said Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, NEWS 9's medical expert. "Our bodies are very good at keeping most things under control."

But Dr. Graham does warn consumers to be aware of the ingredients in their cosmetics-especially if the consumer has allergies to chemicals. And consumers are being warned to always pay attention to a product's shelf life. 

"Parabens are preservatives and they are organic chemicals and they are put into cosmetics to prevent the growth of microorganisms. They also have a date after which their viability expires," said Graham. "Which is the reason why you shouldn't be using any product past its expiration date."

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't have a pre-market approval process for cosmetics, Dr. Bauman warns to be aware there is always bacteria to contend with-your own.

"When you use your makeup and you put the sponge back in, or your mascara wand back in, it's got bacteria on it," said Dr. Bauman.

Some women are opting for a possible safer, and more natural, alternative.

"You expose yourself to all kinds of pollutants every day, and chemicals, and if there are ways that you can cut down on that, you should," said Shelly Ruffner, salon owner.

Ruffner now offers her clients the latest trend in the beauty-organic-based products. 

"We take the approach that a lot of people forget their skin is an organ, and it can ingest what you put on it," said Ruffner. "So it is really important that you carefully consider the products that you use. so that's what we try to do."