Is “Green” Beauty Better For Your Health?

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For many, the choice to “go green” is based on an effort to avoid chemicals like phthalates, which are found in many nail polishes, hairsprays and scented products to prevent chipping, avoid stiffness and prolong fragrance. Despite some concern about their effects on reproduction, the FDA asserts that it’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on health.

There are also concerns that parabens, the most widely used preservatives in cosmetics, may be linked to breast tumors based on their estrogen-like properties. Even though the FDA acknowledges these properties, they say that they have much less estrogenic activity than what naturally occurs in the body, and they have told consumers that there is no reason to be concerned about using cosmetics with parabens.

Furthermore, some argue that foaming agents sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, commonly found in shampoos and soaps, can cause cancer. Organizations like the American Cancer Society, the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review confirm that foaming agents in cosmetics are not carcinogenic. However, these ingredients have, indeed, been connected to eye and skin irritations.

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