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Cosmetics and the “beauty cocktail”

Are life and health worth a definite answer? Who and why do we help by using cosmetics with these components? Definitely not for myself…

cosmetics and skin

Skin needs protection

A close connection of the skin with all organs is laid even in the embryonic period. All tissues and systems develop from three germ layers. The human body is a single integral system. The mutual influence of the state of the skin, the largest organ in terms of area, and internal organs is a manifestation of the “feedback” necessary for life and adaptation.

Hundreds of years ago, the effect of mechanical irritation of certain points on the surface of the skin on the body’s functions was noticed. Internal diseases can be manifested by skin dermatoses, in certain areas of the skin, increased pain and temperature sensitivity may appear.

The skin separates the internal environment of the body from the external environment, protects against aggressive influences. Barrier functions are performed by several layers of stratum corneum cells connected by an intercellular lipid barrier. А hydrolipid film, a protective acid mantle, is located on the surface of the stratum corneum.

cosmetics and skin

The skin is in constant interaction with the external environment. It is “assigned” many different functions: a protective barrier and immune response, excretion and absorption, water balance, sensory reception, thermoregulation, et cetera.

The skin is actively involved in the general metabolism in the body, produces the main amount of vitamin D and a protective pigment – melanin. Receptors are located in the skin that report changes in the environment, causing an adequate response.

As the main protective barrier, the skin is exposed to constant external aggressive influences, which leads to its premature aging (Photoaging).

Cosmetics must protect

Skin protection is about cleansing, nourishing, moisturizing and what is usually meant by protection. That is, protection from outside attacks: the sun (and solarium), wind, temperature extremes, the damaging effect of free radicals, bacteria, viruses and fungi, as well as cosmetics – if it contains aggressive components. More on this later.

The lipid barrier is impervious to water and plays an important role in retaining moisture in the skin and protecting it from negative environmental influences. Violation of the protective properties of the lipid barrier leads to dehydration of the skin, dryness and flaking, the appearance of allergic and infectious diseases, and premature aging.

From the point of view of Corneobiology and Corneotherapy, restoration and maintenance of barrier functions leads to the normalization of physiological processes in the deep layers of the skin and prevents its premature aging – Outside-in Therapy.

Since the epidermis is able to break down lipids entering the composition of cosmetics and use the resulting fragments to restore the lipid barrier of the skin, it is necessary to deliver exactly what it needs to the skin “from the outside”.

The skin must receive a sufficient amount of lipids, antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids, which help the skin to stay healthy and prevent early aging.

“Beauty cocktail”

Since cosmetics are actively involved in the processes occurring in the surface layers of the skin, depending on the ingredients in the composition, the effect of cosmetics can be beneficial or harmful.

Healthy lifestyle: diets, fruits, vegetables, fresh juices, fitness and swimming. We are accustomed to associate all this with the preservation of youth, health and beauty for a long time.

However, when it comes to cosmetics, everything is different: a very small number of people read the full list of ingredients, limiting themselves to the list of “active ingredients” offered by them.

It is no longer a secret that modern cosmetics mainly consist of water and products of chemical and petrochemical synthesis.

It is enough to read this paragraph diagonally: Methyl-propyl-isopropyl-butyl-ethyl-parabens; Imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol and other preservatives that release formaldehyde; Methylchloroisothiazolinone and other biocides derived from isothiazolinone; Phenoxyethanol; Triethanolamine, DEA; Propylene glycol, PEG; Mineral oil, petroleum jelly; Isopropyl alcohol; Stearalconium chloride, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), diethyl and dibutliphthalate, flavors, colors, etc.

Preservatives, emulsifiers, synthetic oils, stabilizers, enhancers, fragrances, dyes …
All these and similar ingredients play a major role in the production of billions of tons of cosmetics by hundreds of different brands. The cheapest technology for mass production of cosmetics is “on the water” formulations.

The formulations of aquatic cosmetics contain a low concentration of each of these components – say the supporters of their use.

However, changing from one brand to another, the same “base ingredients” can be applied to the skin every day for decades. Constant smoking and alcohol consumption may also have no visible consequences for some time.

No convincing evidence of harmful effects, and just copying statements read on the Internet?
Let’s check.

For example, parabens are very common preservatives. Biocidal preservatives are not only common causes of allergic reactions, but are indeed able to penetrate the stratum corneum, unlike most “active ingredients”.

The study, which was published in the article “Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours “ demonstrated a high concentration of parabens in breast tumors tissue. Darbre PD, at al, Journal of Appl Toxicol. 2004 Jan-Feb; 24 (1):5-13.)

In 2012, a new study was published: “Measurement of paraben concentrations in human breast tissue at serial locations across the breast from axilla to sternum” L Barr, at al. Journal of Applied Toxicology, Vol. 32, (March 2012), p.219 -232.

The result was the discovery of one or more species of parabens in 99% (158 of 160) of tumor tissue samples, and five species of parabens were found in 60% of cases.

“Parabens can enable hallmarks and characteristics of cancer in human breast epithelial cells: a review of the literature with reference to new exposure data and regulatory status” J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Sep;34(9):925-38.

“Exposure to parabens at the concentration of maximal proliferative response increases migratory and invasive activity of human breast cancer cells in vitro.” J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Sep;34(9):1051-9.

“State of the evidence 2017: an update on the connection between breast cancer and the environment.” Environ Health. 2017; 16: 94
The key words “parabens and breast cancer” – there are already many articles on this topic.

Based on these studies, is it possible to say for sure that parabens were one of the causes of cancer, or to deny it with the same certainty?

No, you cannot – neither assert nor deny.
Is life and health worth a definite answer?

In the list below, the titles of several articles that raise the question – who and why do we help using cosmetics with these components? Definitely not to yourself.

Reference:

  • National Toxicology Program (10 June 2011). “12th Report on Carcinogens”. National Toxicology Program. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
  • Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen” International Agency for Research on Cancer (June 2004).
  • IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 88 (2006): Formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol and 1-tert-Butoxypropan-2-ol
  • “Formaldehyde-releasers: relationship to formaldehyde contact allergy. Contact allergy to formaldehyde and inventory of formaldehyde-releasers”. De Groot, Anton C; Flyvholm, Mari-Ann; Lensen, Gerda; Menné, Torkil; Coenraads, Pieter-Jan. Contact Dermatitis (2009), 61 (2): 63–85.
  • “Formaldehyde allergy”. DermNet NZ. New Zealand Dermatological Society. June 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
  • “Mutagenicity of cosmetic products containing Kathon” Connor TH, Tee PG, Afshar M, Connor KM. Environ Mol Mutagen. 1996; 28(2):127-32. University of Texas Health Scienсe Center, School of Public Health,. Houston
  • “Isothiazolinone Preservative: Cause Of A Continuing Epidemic Of Cosmetic Dermatitis”, C. De Groot, A. Herxheimer. The Lancet, Volume 333, Issue 8633, Pages 314-316 (1989).
  • “Methylisothiazolinone, a neurotoxic biocide, disrupts the association of Src family tyrosine kinases with focal adhesion kinase in developing cortical neurons”. K. He, J. Huang, C. F. Lagenaur, E. Aizenman J. Pharmacol. Exp. Therap. 2006; 317 (3): 1320–1329.
  • “NTP toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of triethanolamine (Cas No. 102-71-6) in B6C3F1 mice (dermal studies).”National Toxicology Program, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Natl Toxicol Program Tech Rep Ser. 2004 May;(518):5-163.
  • “Carcinogenicity of triethanolamine in mice and its mutagenicity after reaction with sodium nitrite in bacteria.” Hoshino H, Tanooka H. Cancer Res. 1978 Nov;38(11 Pt 1):3918-21.
  • “Allergic contact dermatitis from mono-, di- and triethanolamine.” Blum, A. and Lischka, G. Contact Dermatitis 36(3): 166, 1997.
  • “2-Phenoxyethanol: a neurotoxicant?” Schmuck G, Steffens W, Bomhard E. Arch Toxicol. 2000 Jul; 74(4-5):281-7
  • FDA Warns Consumers Against Using Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream Product can be harmful to nursing infants
  • “Phenoxyethanol- induced urticaria.” Bohn S, Bircher AJ. Allergy. 2001 Sep; 56(9):922-3.
  • “Positive patch-test reactions to propylene glycol: a retrospective cross-sectional analysis from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 1996 to 2006.” Warshaw EM, Botto NC, Maibach et al. Dermatitis 2009 Jan-Feb;20(1):14-20.
  • “Propylene glycol: an often unrecognized cause of allergic contact dermatitis in patients using topical corticosteroids”. Al Jasser M, Mebuke N, de Gannes GC. Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Skin Therapy Lett. 2011 May; 16(5):5-7.
  • “Skin-sensitizing and irritant properties of propylene glycol”. Lessmann, H., Schnuch, A., Geier, J. and Uter, W. Contact Dermatitis 53(5): 247-259, 2005.
  • Contact Dermatitis From Stearyl Alcohol and Propylene Glycol” Alexander A. Fisher, MD. Arch Dermatol. 1974;110(4):636.
  • [Allergic contact dermatitis to cosmetics] [Article in Spanish] Laguna C, de la Cuadra J, Martín-González B, Zaragoza V, Martínez-Casimiro L, Alegre V. Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2009 Jan-Feb;100(1):53-60.
  • [Contact allergy to cosmetics]. [Article in French] Goossens A, Merckx L. Service de Dermatologie, Hôpital Universitaire Saint-Rafaël, Leuven, Belgique. Allerg Immunol (Paris). 1997 Dec;29(10):300-3.
  • Testing strategies in mutagenicity and genetic toxicology: an appraisal of the guidelines of the European Scientific Committee for Cosmetics and Non-Food Products for the evaluation of hair dyes. Kirkland DJ, Henderson L, Marzin D, Müller L, Parry JM, Speit G, Tweats DJ, Williams GM. Mutat Res. 2005 Dec 30;588(2):88-105.
  • “Cosmetics as a potential source of environmental contamination in the UK.” Dhanirama D, Gronow J, Voulvoulis N. Environ Technol. 2012 Jul-Aug;33(13-15):1597-608.
  • “Endocrine disruptors and asthma-associated chemicals in consumer products.” Dodson RE, Nishioka M, Standley LJ, Perovich LJ, at al. Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jul; 120(7):935-43.
  • “Neutrophilic and eosinophilic dermatitis caused by contact allergic reaction to paraphenylenediamine in hair dye.” Lönngren V, Young E, at al. Arch Dermatol. 2012 Nov 1; 148(11):1299-301.
  • “Allergic contact dermatitis caused by isopropyl alcohol: a missed allergen?” García avín J, Lissens at al. Contact Dermatitis. 2011 Aug; 65(2)
  • “The stress caused by nitrite with titanium dioxide nanoparticles under UVA irradiation in human keratinocyte cell”. Tu M, Huang Y, Li HL, Gao ZH. Toxicology 2012 Sep 4;299(1):60-8.
  • “Effects of Industrial Detergents on the Barrier Function of Human Skin”. Nielsen, G.D. et al. Int. J. Occup. Med. 6(2):138-142, 2000.
  • “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: associated disorders and mechanisms of action”. De Coster S, van Larebeke N. Study Centre for Carcinogenesis and Primary Prevention of Cancer, Department of Radiotherapy and Experimental Cancerology, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan Belgium. J Environ Public Health. 2012;
  • “Allergic contact dermatitis to preservatives and fragrances in cosmetics.” Hamilton T, de Gannes GC. Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Skin Therapy Lett. 2011 Apr;16(4):1-4.
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