Yes, Let’s Define “Safe Cosmetics…”

TODAY’S RANT: I just HAD to respond to these posts from a Linked In group I belong to — here’s the conversation that got me all riled up:

To me ‘safe cosmetic’ means a cosmetic (something that affects the surface layers of the skin on a temporary basis) that has been manufactured to be stable physically, chemically and microbiologically for the duration of the usable shelf-life. It should be made with Good Manufacturing Practice, stored in accordance to instructions and contain chemicals that have been tested and proved to have no detrimental effects in the dose and presentation of this particular formulation. I may have missed something but that is what I have for now. In a nutshell it is an applied safety relating to the ingredients > manufacturing method> supply chain> in-use instructions> disposal.

Response from another Linked In group member:

I know I teach my clients that cosmetics is simply placed on the top layer of your face. So as long as you have no skin reaction then the safest cosmetics is the one you regularly remove. Cleansing the face morning and night and allowing the skin to air is more important to me than the brand of make-up you use.

And here’s my response:

FACT: 60% of products applied to the body actually enter the bloodstream, and those that don’t enter your body are washed off into the environment. Ingredients that are not readily biodegradable are affecting our water supply, the creatures living within our waters, and entering our soils.

QUESTION: Who is doing the “testing” to ensure safety? If it’s not an independent research institution, the results can be compared to the testing done by tobacco companies with their own hired scientists, claiming that nicotine does no harm…

I believe “safe” should follow the PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE: The health of our planet and all living things upon it should take priority over cosmetic applications to the body (products used to improve appearance, as opposed to products used to improve health).

Definition of the Precautionary Principle from Wikipedia (

* precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result. In some legal systems, as in the law of the European Union, the application of the precautionary principle has been made a statutory requirement.*

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