What's in your makeup? Experts talk toxins & alternatives

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - You know that old adage, beauty is only skin deep? Well, as it turns out, that's not entirely true.

"We do absorb a lot of these products especially through the face, in the case with the lips it does go through the mouth," Dr. Amit Sharma said.

The problem is, with the exception of color additives, the FDA does not require cosmetic companies to get ingredient approval before their products go on the market. In fact, no federal law regulating the ingredients in personal care products has been passed since 1938.
"They don't go through the pre-approval process that other drugs go through," Dr. Sharma said. "We don't know what's in them and you know if there is concern it goes by self reporting so as you can imagine a lot of this would be underreported."
So why doesn't the FDA test every product available for purchase in the U.S.?
"Well the cosmetic industry is a very fast growing industry and the FDA just haven't been able to keep up with this due to funding," Dr. Sharma said.

But the FDA did have the money to test some makeup and personal care products. Toxins and heavy metals like arsenic, chromium, and lead, which are known carcinogens, were found in small amounts. 

"You know they have found a very small amount but there's not enough information to say whether these pose a risk or not," Dr. Sharma said.

We're talking anywhere from a dozen to several thousand parts per million, but for some, especially those looking to improve their health, even trace amounts of these contaminants is concerning.

"I've had two kidney transplants, I take my medication but I was finding that as many medications that I was taking and as many things that I had happened due to complications or just other kinds of sickness, I wasn't finding the real health and really feeling as good as I wanted to even after transplants," hair and makeup artist Micayla Cuomo said.

That's one of the reasons why Cuomo turned to Young Living; the Utah based essential oil company which touts a seed to seal promise that no pesticides, synthetics, contaminants, or cheap fillers are used in their products.
"I can look at the ingredients and trust that these are good ingredients," Cuomo said. "I can look them up and know that they are good for my skin and not just harming it."

If you have a house full of products that you're now thinking about getting rid of, Cuomo said it's best to start small.
"See what's in your kitchen cabinet, in your make-up drawer, in your bathroom cabinet that's actually harming you," Cuomo said. "And slowly, slowly start acquiring things, because it's not magic. It's not spending $6,000, I'm getting rid of all this stuff. It's just slowly, every month $50 a month $100 a month whatever – it's rerouting that money and getting things that are supporting your body."

And for those who are skeptical:
"I've never had anyone give me a bad review on these products," Cuomo said.

Beautycounter, another company that looks to provide consumers with toxin and chemical free personal care products, is looking to change the legislation regarding the FDA's power over regulating cosmetic ingredients.

"Recent studies show that health issues like cancer, infertility and hormone disruption are on the rise due in part to ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals," Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter Founder and CEO said. "Our mission is to get safer, high-performing personal care products into the hands of everyone."

You can learn more about Beautycounter, their legislative efforts and the products they have available by following this link.

To get in touch with Micayla Cuomo for Young Living product interest click here.

To find out how many hidden toxins are in your cosmetics and personal care products, download the Think Dirty app, available in the Android and Apple app stores.

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