Can Makeup Make You Sick?

July 11, 2008

Natural beauty is what we consider as a trend in the past few decades. Today people are in a rat race or perhaps even a marathon race behind fads. It is worth thinking that what we consider in vogue and in line with the latest fad would only last for a few months and then we would perhaps change our living pattern or dressing sense to match the new fashion trends. Nothing is permanent – fads are the least among them; but the only thing which has not changed since the last few decades is the trend to use cosmetics. My daughter is an year old toddler. She doesn’t know how to speak but she recognises that lipstick is to be applied on the lips and demands the same on her lips whenever I apply it. My grandmother has thick luscious black hair and she never applied dye. My mom unfortunately has Grey hair and uses hair dyes occasionally. My situation is even worse. I developed a few streaks of white hair when I was hardly 22. Today the number has grown after seven years. The indication is that perhaps we are growing away from nature and nature too is taking its revenge by not offering what it normally offered to people in yesteryears. Instead of recognising this fact, we prefer to be among the ones following the cosmetic culture may be because we don’t want to be isolated from the rest of the world and identified as being very different and perhaps whimsical. Whatever be our likings or way of living, we need to know the pros and cons of everything we do so that we are in a position to analyse whether what we are doing is right or wrong. Cosmetics are nothing but agents which cleanse, beautify or change the appearance of the body. These are chemicals and sometimes herbs are used to manufacture these. Whatever be the origin of cosmetics, they are external agents which are alien to the human body and are imposed on the body to improve the external appeal. This could give rise to various allergies as different people are sensitive to different types of allergens and they themselves are not aware of the allergens they are sensitive to. If these allergens or antigens are present in the raw materials used in manufacture of cosmetics, the user goes for a toss. Many promoters use the term herbal-base cosmetics to prove they are safe for use. It is only the elite who understand that spores, bacteria and other micro organisms would propagate only in herbal base products and the likelihood for infections is more from their usage. The situation is same for chemical based cosmetics too where chemical preservatives and colors along with perfumes are added to increase the aesthetic appeal of the formulation. These colors may cause skin reactions or allergies which could be in form of rashes, blisters or even discoloration. Perfumes may cause rhinitis, sinusitis and sneezing for hypersensitive people. The term hypersensitive does not denote an abnormality. All people who are prone to allergies are hypersensitive. In some cases, asthma may also develop and the person may feel breathless in presence of strong perfume odor. Certain habits make the use of cosmetics even more risk prone. If you have the habit of adding saliva to your dry cosmetic bottles or if you share the sponges used for dabbing, cleaning or application of cosmetics, things can go wrong. Each person’s personal hygiene is different and hence these personal things are never shared at the best. Moreover, adding saliva to cosmetics increases the chances of microbial contamination of the cosmetic because saliva is organic in nature and encourages microbial growth. Hence it is wiser to prevent the complications rather than waiting for good treatment alternatives. Some precautions to be taken while using cosmetics are: 1. Never apply mascara or eyeliner when traveling in a car or in flight. Mascara and eyeliners are critical as are applied on the most sensitive organ…the eye. If it scratches the cornea, itching could result and if left unattended, infections may develop. 2. Never sleep with your make-up on … You are not conscious in your sleep. Hence if you gulp in your lipstick, or if your eyeliner chips and enters the eye, you would certainly be at a higher risk of complications. Moreover if you sleep with make up on, it would be a long time that you are with the same make up, and your skin would not get a chance to breathe freely on uncoated skin. 3. Never share your make-up kits, brushes or products. 4. Keep make-up containers closed when not in use. This would avoid exposure to other irritants and foreign bodies. 5. Never use aerosol sprays near heat or fire, they may burst. 6. Discard make up if color changes or smell changes. 7. Don’t inhale hair sprays and powders, this may cause allergies and asthma. I hope this helps. - Gunjan Additional Reading: Chemical Exposures - the Ugly Side of Beauty Products Want Younger Skin? Junk the Cosmetics, Just Exercise! All Natural Products For Radiant Skin