Cosmetics

By: Vivacare - Dr. Mark Becker

Cosmetics enhance the appearance of skin to provide a more youthful or beautiful appearance.

The term “make-up” refers to colored products, such as mascara, that alter the appearance while they are present on the skin. Other cosmetic products, such as cosmeceuticals change the underlying function of the skin to provide desired changes that are longer lasting.

There is an overwhelming variety of cosmetic products now available for the hair, face, eyes, lips, nails, and trunk, including:

  • Eyes: eye liner, eye shadow.
  • Lips: lipstick, lip pencils, lipliners, mascara
  • Facial skin: masks, camoflauge, foundation
  • Nails, nail coloring, nail polish, nail extenders
  • Hair: shampoo, hair dye, gels, and other hair care products
  • Skin care creams, such as moisturizers.

Cosmetics & Allergies.

Hypoallergenic cosmetics are skin care products that claim to produce fewer allergic skin reactions than other cosmetic products. Consumers with sensitive skin, and even those with normal skin, may find that these products are gentler on their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics.

There are no federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term “hypoallergenic” so the term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean. It may thus be used for marketing purposes with little science to suppot its use. In short, even hypoallergenic products can trigger allergic reactions.

It is important to note that the term “organic” is referring to the source of the material. Cosmetics that are marked as “organic” may contain higher levels of ingredients to which some are allergic. For instance, cosmetics with ingredients derived from nut oil may trigger reactions in this with food allergies.

How long do cosmetics last?

It is important to pay attention to the expiration date on your cosmetic products because the ingredients can oxidize and alter over time.

The shelf-life for eye cosmetics, such as mascara, is shorter than for other products. Because of the risk of eye infections it is recommend that mascara be replaced 3 months after purchase. If mascara becomes dry, discard it. Do not add water or, even worse, saliva to moisten it, because that will introduce bacteria into the product. If you have an eye infection, consult a physician immediately, stop using all eye-area cosmetics, and discard those you were using when the infection occurred.

“All natural” products that may contain plant-derived substances or those with no preservatives are also more likely to result in microbial growth and expire more rapidly than others.

Consumers should be aware that expiration dates are simply “rules of thumb,” and that a product’s safety may expire long before the expiration date if the product has not been properly stored. Cosmetics that have been improperly stored – for example, exposed to high temperatures or sunlight, or opened and examined by consumers prior to final sale – may deteriorate substantially before the expiration date. On the other hand, products stored under ideal conditions may be acceptable long after the expiration date has been reached.

Sharing makeup increases the risk of contamination. “Testers” commonly found at department store cosmetic counters are even more likely to become contaminated than the same products in an individual’s home. If you feel you must test a cosmetic before purchasing it, apply it with a new, unused applicator, such as a fresh cotton swab.