Common Substances in Cosmetics

Cosmetics refer to substances added to a product for application purposes. Cosmetics are comprised of a combination of different chemical substances derived either from natural resources or chemically synthesized ones. Cosmetics use varied forms of additives and preservatives to improve the properties of certain products such as cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, mouth washes, soaps, and lip care products. Cosmetics are popular worldwide due to the fact that they can be applied directly to the skin and do not have to go through the digestive system before being absorbed. Cosmetics, in some way, help to protect the skin from damage caused by external factors such as air pollution, ultraviolet radiation, chemicals, and heat.

Skin Lightening Products

There are two main categories of cosmetics, cosmetic essentials and cosmetics additives. Ingredients that fall under the first category, usually referred to as “essential oils”, are generally produced from plants that have low volatile oil contents. Essential oils, such as rose, lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus are extremely common plant components used in cosmetics. Cosmetic essentials may also include synthetic fragrance materials such as ammonia, fatty acids, glycerin, mineral oil, and preservatives, such as sodium benzoate

On the other hand, cosmetic products that fall under the second category, commonly known as “color additives”, are generally produced from pigments obtained from petroleum or coal deposits. These pigments, such as iron oxides, silicates, manganese oxide, and titanium dioxide, are usually required in only minute amounts to attain certain desired cosmetic results. Some color additives used in cosmetics products, such as FD&C colors (dyes), are considered to be health hazards because of prolonged exposure. However, cosmetic products that do not contain color additives are generally considered safe.

Cosmetics manufacturers are not required to provide information regarding the amounts of each substance added to beauty products. This lack of information makes it difficult to establish whether the amount of a substance needed to produce a specific colorant is safe for human consumption. Some of the most popular ingredients in cosmetics, such as fragrance, preservatives, and colorants, are known skin irritants. Moreover, some cosmetics products contain low concentrations of these substances, but increase irritation and redness of the skin. There is also a wide range of potential carcinogens in cosmetics, which increase the risk of cancer among users of these substances.

The third type of ingredients found in cosmetics include “thickeners”. Cosmetics that contain thickeners include hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, and silicone. Hyaluronic acid is often added to cosmetics in order to retain moisture and stimulate collagen production. Dimethicone and silicone are adding to make emollients (moisturizers) and emulsifiers (moisturizing agents). Unfortunately, when these ingredients are exposed to heat, they can lose their usefulness.

The fourth type of substance commonly found in cosmetics is “fragrance”. However, this term differs from substance to substance. Most common chemicals added to cosmetics include alcohols, acetone, Eau de Parfum, lanolin, mineral oils, parabens, and perfumes. Fragrance is not actually a substance; rather, it is a design for a chemical that gives a cosmetic product an appealing fragrance. Thus, one can say that fragrances in cosmetics are unnecessary, because one could easily create his or her own fragrances. Nevertheless, some fragrances are necessary in order to have pleasant cosmetic products.

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