Top 6 Myths and Facts about Professional Salon Products and Cosmetics
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Myth: If products are at a Salon by a professional and licensed cosmetologist, they must be safe.
Fact: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority to require companies to assess ingredients or products for safety. FDA does not review or approve the vast majority of salon products or ingredients before they go on the market. The agency conducts pre-market reviews only for certain color additives and active ingredients in cosmetics classified as over-the-counter drugs.
Myth: The salon and cosmetics industry effectively polices itself, making sure all ingredients meet a strict standard of safety.
Fact: There is no industry recognized national safety panel for Salon products in the United States. In its more than 30-year history, the industry’s safety panel (the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, or CIR) has assessed fewer than 20 percent of cosmetics ingredients and found only a handful of ingredients or chemical groups to be unsafe. Its recommendations are not binding on companies.
Myth: The government prohibits dangerous chemicals in professional salon products, and companies wouldn’t risk using them.
Fact: Cosmetics companies may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances (such as vinyl chloride and cow parts), without government review or approval.
- More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union.7
- Nearly 100 products contain ingredients considered unsafe by the International Fragrance Association.8
- A wide range of nanomaterials whose safety is in question may be common in personal care products. 9
- 22% of all personal care products may be contaminated with the -causing impurity 1,4-dioxane, including many children’s products. 10,11
- 60% of sunscreens contain the potential hormone disruptor oxybenzone that readily penetrates the skin and contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans.12,13
- 61% of lipstick brands contain residues of lead. 14
Myth: Salon ingredients are applied to the scalp and rarely get into the body. When they do, levels are too low to matter.
Fact: People are exposed by breathing in fumes and absorbing chemicals into pores. Biomonitoring studies have found cosmetics ingredients – like phthalate plasticizers, paraben preservatives, the pesticide triclosan, synthetic musks, and sunscreens – inside the bodily fluids of men, women, children and even the cord blood of newborn babies. Many of these chemicals are potential hormone disruptors that may increase cancer risk. Products commonly contain penetration enhancers to drive ingredients deeper into the hair. Studies find health problems in people exposed to common fragrance and sunscreen ingredients, including elevated risk for sperm damage, feminization of the male reproductive system, and low birth weight in girls.
Myth: The FDA would promptly recall any product that injures people.
Fact: The FDA has no authority to require recalls of harmful salon products or cosmetics. Furthermore, manufacturers are not required to report cosmetics-related injuries to the agency. The FDA relies on companies to report injuries voluntarily.
Myth: Consumers can read ingredient labels and avoid products with hazardous chemicals.
Fact: Federal law allows companies to leave many chemicals off labels, including nanomaterials, contaminants, and components of fragrance. Professional salon products are not required to list ingredients by any Federal law in the United States. For those few that do list their ingredients, tests have revealed an average of 14 hidden compounds per formulation, including potential hormone disruptors and diethyl phthalate, a compound linked to sperm damage.
This list of Myths and Facts was derived from and enhanced from The Story of Cosmetics Myths and Facts. Further reference materials can be found there.