Are You Worried About The Ingredients In Cosmetics And Skin Care Products?
Some of the ingredients and chemicals that are used in modern skin care and cosmetic products are not only synthetic – that is, manufactured as opposed to natural – they are also potentially harmful. That’s very surprising at a time when the emphasis is firmly placed on all things natural, whether it’s food and drink to go into the body, or skin creams and treatments to put on it. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) is one ingredient that has a mixed press.
BHT is a synthetic antioxidant that is used as a preserving agent in lipsticks, moisturizers and certain other cosmetic products such as cleansers, facial make up and body oils. The chemical also extends the shelf life of the products and keeps the colourings in cosmetics stable. It’s also used to preserve foods – especially foods containing fats which may go rancid over time. Other uses include aeronautic fuels, petroleum products and astonishingly even embalming fluid! Of the two main chemicals in BHT, P-cresol attracts mosquitoes, while isobutylene is highly flammable.
Back in the 1970’s, an American physician linked BHT to hyperactivity in children. More recently, some studies have concluded that the chemical is carcinogenic, while others have found that it can actually reduce the risk of cancer, so there is a certain level of controversy surrounding the use of BHT.
Some food manufacturers are so concerned about the risk that they have discontinued the use of BHT in their products, even though the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it fit for human consumption. However, it is banned for food use in Australia, Japan, Romania, Sweden and the UK, so there are vastly differing views on the safety of BHT.
Advocates for the use of BHT state that as the proportions of the chemical used in cosmetics and skin care products is very low – less than 0.5% – it’s not hazardous to health. And they also insist that the substance either remains on the skin or only penetrates the skin layers slowly, so it takes a long time to get into the system, if it ever manages to do so. One informed opinion is that BHT can only cause cancer when taken orally – which is why some countries have banned its use in food – but there is no conclusive evidence to prove that BHT does or does not cause cancer.
Also, there are conflicting opinions on whether it can be absorbed into the blood stream or not. Tests on animals have shown that prolonged exposure to BHT can cause cancer, breathing problems and liver damage. Some studies have concluded that any cancer prevention qualities that BHT may have due to being an antioxidant – albeit a synthetic one – are outweighed by the chemical’s cancer causing properties.
In the light of all the controversy, does a product such as BHT really belong in food and skin care products? Naturally Mediterranean believes that such a potentially harmful substance has no place in any skin care products. It certainly has no place in the natural skin care products that the company produces.
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