There is so much ridiculous fearmongering about the dangers of cosmetic ingredients that people often ignore cosmetic ingredients that can actually be harmful. Here is a list of cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients that can be dangerous. Now, this doesn’t mean consumers can’t use them and that you can’t formulate with them, it just means you need to be careful and label your products properly.
One of the most dangerous types of cosmetic is a hair relaxer. This product uses Sodium Hydroxide or other high pH bases that can cause severe burns on the scalp if left on for too long. You need to be extremely careful when using a product like this. It’s something that is probably best left up to professionals.
Here’s another hair treatment that can be dangerous. Perms use thioglycolates to cause a chemical reaction that rearranges the chemical bonds within hair to help create the curl. This chemical can cause burning and be sensitizing if left on the skin for too long.
These products are great for removing hair but they can also cause significant irritation, especially if the product is misused by the consumer. Patch testing should be required before using to ensure that there will be no significant allergic reaction. Thioglycolates are also used to make this product work.
The thing about hair products that makes them more dangerous than skin products is that the hair is “dead” tissue. Strands of hair are no more alive than shoelaces. Therefore, chemically reactive ingredients can be used (if done carefully) Hair color is another type of reactive chemical that is used as a cosmetic. While it can be used safely, it can also cause problems if used incorrectly. The reaction can irritate or burn skin and the ingredients can also have a severe reaction to your eyes. This is why there is a warning not to use hair coloring on your eyebrows.
Skin Bleaching agents
While not technically cosmetics, skin bleaches are often sold as such and they can be dangerous if used improperly. The primary concern is skin irritation.
This ingredient isn’t dangerous per se but it can cause your skin to turn orange and most consumers would not want to experience that. The ingredient, DHA, chemically reacts with skin protein to cause the orangish/brownish color and if not used properly uneven, undesirable colors can result.
For the most part, cosmetic products are perfectly safe to use. The fearmongering about cancer, toxicity, and hormone disruption is unproven and in contrast with what the majority of professional toxicologists believe.