Monday, February 18, 2013

Online Resources on Cosmetic Ingredients


Source: Philippe Sainte-Marie | Fotopedia.com
Different governments have their own way of regulating cosmetic products within their jurisdiction. By following these strict guidelines, manufacturers can formulate their products with consumer safety as the main priority. Despite these, a non profit organization, by the name of Environmental Working Group, continually alerts the public for unsafe products in the market. According to this group, many hazardous chemicals are being used by manufacturers of these products. The group even warned the public against buying specific products on their website. Though many ingredients' safety are still debatable, many manufacturers continue to use these ingredients. 
Since the product has landed onto your boutique's shelf, the product must be safe, right? Well, that's a hard question to answer. While I don't think manufacturers would intend to create cosmetics harmful for their consumers' health, but unfortunately, cosmetic products don't pass through screening by independent agencies. It's hard to determine whether the product is indeed free of any dangers.

Safety issues aside, we can't be so sure if labels of the products are true to what they claim. Labels such as noncomedogenic, non-hypoallergenic, natural, or dermatologist-tested are dubious because there is no definite standards for manufacturers to describe their products as such. How natural is the product? Does it mean that one natural ingredient, even with the tiniest percentage, would rightfully describe a product as natural? Or how about noncomedogenic? Does it mean that the product is absolutely free of comedogenic ingredients? The questions can go on.

I think the best way to answer these questions is to gain proper knowledge. There are many online resources that help educate the public about these issues. My top pick is the website of Cosmeticsinfo.org. It contains a huge database on personal care products ingredients, their description, their functions, and their safety issues. Links to resources such as FDA and CIR are provided within each of the ingredient's profile for more information. I am learning a lot of things by looking up at their database.

For a quick analysis of a product's ingredients, I refer to Cosdna.com. It has a search box where you can choose to type the product name, ingredient name, or the whole ingredient list for your query. I usually would look up to my favorite product's ingredient's list I've searched online, copy the list, and paste it in the query box. Results will display a table of these ingredients, along with the function of these ingredients (e.g. surfactants, solvents, or emollients), the comedogenicity rating, the irritancy rating, and the safety rating. 

Here I have listed down online resources I've mentioned, plus some additional useful sites:
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