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Cosmetics refer to substances added to make up intended for human consumption. Cosmetics have been in existence for thousands of years. Cosmetics are usually comprised of a combination of different chemical substances extracted from either synthetic sources or natural organic sources. Cosmetics in today’s world are produced for personal care, medical and cosmetic purposes.

The chemistry of cosmetics - Curious

There are two types of cosmetics that are commonly used; lotions and moisturizers. The major components of lotions and moisturizers are petrolatum, mineral oil and paraffin wax. These types of ingredients are generally used in lower concentrations by most consumer products

Facial creams, body lotions and creams are usually composed of ingredients such as aloe vera, glycerin, jojoba oil, fragrance, and some other additives. Some cosmetic products such as lip balm, eye shadows and lipstick contain alcohol, which is also an added ingredient. Alcohols are preservatives, which may shorten the shelf life of the cosmetic products. Many of these chemical ingredients are considered carcinogens, which may lead to skin cancer.

Many companies use phthalates in addition to other types of synthetic ingredients that cause allergic reactions. Phthalates are used in lipstick and lipsticks. These chemicals are also found in artificial nails and hair dyes. Most of these phthalates are used as preservatives, although they are not considered an approved preservative, so they fall under the category of artificial ingredients.

Cosmetics include creams, lotions, gels and oils, which are applied to the skin for their cosmetic effect. They are used in place of natural ingredients. In cosmetics include active ingredients such as vitamins, botanicals, herbal extracts, essential oils and fragrance. Active ingredients work by binding with the free radical molecules in our skin. Free radical molecules are unstable and can damage cellular membranes, causing cell death. By binding to the free radicals, the antioxidants provide a protective shield for our skin, which helps to delay the signs of aging.

The U.S. FDA does not currently regulate cosmetics. Each company is responsible for making their own determination and label for what is in their cosmetic product. However, the California Assembly, with the support of the California Senate, has introduced legislation that would regulate cosmetics more stringently. Currently, the only state regulations on cosmetics in regards to the ingredients labels. There are no current plans to increase regulation of cosmetic ingredient, however, as many of the ingredients that have been proven to be harmful have already been banned from traditional cosmetics in the European Union.

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