Entries in Cosmetics (3)


FDA Regulation of Cosmetics Nears Despite Industry Objections

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The average woman applies 12 beauty products to her body daily. For men, it’s six daily.

Yet few consumers know the chemicals that go into those everyday cosmetics.

“Shame on me,” said Bette-Lee Hanson, who was getting her hair done at a salon. “I’m not terribly cognizant of what’s in the products but probably I should be. But I’m not.”

As the list of chemicals in everyday beauty products has grown, U.S. oversight has been nonexistent, according to Janet Nudelman, spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition that advocates for safer cosmetics and hygiene products.

“The headlines over the years have really told the story of the problem of unsafe cosmetics,” Nudelman said. “The problem is that there is no one minding the store. There is no federal regulation or law that says companies have to make safe products.”

Nudelman said, however, that Americans had woken up to the problem. This summer Congress is expected to pass a bill allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cosmetics.

The measure would require the labeling of all ingredients and the prohibiting of chemicals linked to cancer or reproductive problems.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who introduced the bill, said the measure would provide some protection to consumers.

“It would give the Food and Drug Administration -- for the first time -- the ability to recall products that have these dangerous products in them,” she told ABC News. “The $60 billion cosmetics industry is one of the least regulated that we have in the country. We don’t even know how many companies there are right now that are producing their products. We certainly don’t know what’s in them.”

Cosmetic agencies have spent $3.5 million lobbying against the measure, saying that it would curtail innovation and compromise trade secrets.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, such chemicals as dioxane and formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, can be found in some shampoo. Lead can be found in lip products. Parabens, which have possible links to cancer, can be found in deodorant.

Some skin-lightening creams contain mercury, which has been linked to cancer. There’s also toluene, a headache-causing chemical, in nail polish; and some perfumes contain diethyl phthalate, which has been tied to allergies, hormone distress and dermatitis.

In February, a new study conducted by the FDA reportedly found that 400 lipsticks on the market tested positive for lead, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The European Union has banned 1,200 of these types of chemicals but the U.S. has only banned 10.

“We’re exposed to toxic chemicals through a wide array of consumer products from the moment when [we] wake up in the morning to the moment when we go to bed at night,” Nudelman said. “The unsafe experience we’re being exposed to in cosmetics is really on the tip of the iceberg.”

She advised consumers to look for labels that had shorter lists of ingredients, and ingredients they could pronounce and recognize.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Four-Year-Old in Makeup: How Young Is Too Young?

Huntstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A mommy blogger who wrote about her child's new fascination with adult cosmetics has ignited an online debate over how young is too young for girls to become interested in beauty.

Lindsay Cross wrote on the website about how her 4-year-old daughter Brenna's interest in cosmetics came about after the young girl watched her apply makeup before attending events. When she shared how applying cosmetics soon became a special bonding routine between mother and daughter, she didn't anticipate the intense reaction from the online community and beyond.

"When I wrote the piece I didn't think it was that monumental of a deal," Cross told ABC News. "I didn't think that it was something that was just too out of the norm...I did notice some articles that said 'Suri Cruise wears very bright lipstick,' and there were so many people who were critiquing their parenting choices, because this 5-year-old is wearing makeup. I was like -- 'of course she does, she's 5 and her mom wears lipstick.'

"I think that [in] parenting, we all want everybody to be like us, because I think then that means that we did it right," she added.

Reaction to Cross's article ranged from Internet commenters who say that she is allowing her daughter to fall prey to society's notions of beauty at far too young an age, to a psychiatrist who maintains that this can lead to an unhealthy desire for flawlessness.

"As someone whose mom couldn't leave the house without being done-up, and subsequently infused this into her daughters' psyches, I say watch out," one commenter wrote. "Please don't help your daughters fall into the 'pretty' trap so young."

Adolescent psychiatrist Henry Paul agrees, saying that 4 years old is too young for a girl to be wearing makeup.

"The use of makeup in some way can be addictive, and what these children would be addicted to is the pursuit of perfection -- the superficial, skin-deep, I'm only as good as I look [attitude]," Paul said.

Cross, however, maintains that her daughter's makeup is just child's play.

"I think that with makeup, for her, it's a way for her to be like her mom. I don't think that she puts two and two together, where you have to wear makeup so that you can present yourself to the world," Cross explained.

Cross says that when she brings her daughter out, most people don't notice that Brenna is wearing makeup, as she does not wear red lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, or foundation.

When asked, Brenna said that she likes to wear makeup "because it makes me pretty."

Cross says that she does understand that it is contradictory to tell her girl that one doesn't have to wear makeup to be beautiful, but that she's allowed to because she feels the prettiest when she puts it on. She says that she intends to have a more serious conversation on the matter when Brenna is older.

For now, Cross say she just wants her daughter to enjoy being a child.

"Now it's dress-up and playing pretend," she said. "It's playing that she's older. And I think that as she gets to be a bit older, she'll look at it differently, and well talk about it differently."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Makeup Makes Women Appear More Competent

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Makeup makes women appear more attractive and competent, according to a new study by a team comprised of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston University and Proctor & Gamble.

The research reveals that when viewers saw a female face for 250 milliseconds, women who wore color cosmetics rated more highly in the categories of attractiveness, competence, likability and trustworthiness. However, when participants were allowed to look at the faces for a longer period of time, while the ratings for competence and attractiveness stayed the same, the ratings for likability and trustworthiness changed based on specific makeup looks.

A Proctor & Gamble chemist and co-author on the study, Dr. Sarah Vickery, said the research could have an impact on the cosmetic industry.

"We're really seeing for the first time how that impacts how others perceive us so that could lead to new color palates, new finishes or it could impact how we organize our color collections for women," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio