Men's Cosmetics: What's Inside?

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 6:55 PM



When most people think of the word “cosmetics” they think of women and make-up, however men participate in cosmetic use every day as well. The average man in North America uses between six to eight cosmetic products each day, ranging from shampoo to aftershave to deodorant and those products combined can consist of up to eighty different chemicals. A lot of people don't think too much about the products they use every day, they just go through their daily routine, but it may be hurting you mentally and physically. Some of the chemicals in men's fragranced products can even have a negative effect on reproductive health when inhaled.

Much like women's products, men's products consist of toxins that the average person would probably not apply to themselves by choice in its pure form. Cologne, aftershave, deodorant, shampoo and shaving cream often contain diethyl phtalate, a chemical that is linked to sperm damage in men and reproductive abnormalities in infants.

Hair and beard dyes are made with lead acetate, a substance banned in Europe because of its known toxic effects on reproductive health. Coal tar is yet another chemical banned in Europe because it is a known human carcinogen, but in the states it is used in anti-dandruff shampoos.

Formaldehyde is an allergen that causes nasty skin rashes, is a possible human carcinogen and is often used to embalm dead bodies. However, even with all its negative effects, it is often used in the creation of many kinds of shampoos and body washes.

Why do cosmetic companies find it important to use so many harmful chemicals in their products? Is it really necessary to use a chemical preservative such as formaldehyde to wash our bodies? Why haven't we started regulating the use of these chemicals in our cosmetics when it is such an obvious solution to any current or future health problems? Many of the chemicals used in the creation of these products aren't even required to be stated on the packaging due to certain legal loopholes. As consumers, our best solution to getting rid of harsh and potentially life threatening chemicals in our cosmetics is to write our senators and petition for new legislation. Someday all our cosmetics will be “clean” cosmetics!

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