Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why are beauty products targeted towards women of color TOXIC?


 I received the book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan, from a friend of mine as a present. A few days ago, I read the book in its entirety and was disturbed by some of the information revealed in this book. So, I thought that I should share. :o) Of course, this book is one-sided, in the sense that it geared towards highlighting some the unhealthy and sickening ingredients (literally), which make up some of the cosmetic products that we love and swear by. However, one-sided or not the truth needs to be REVEALED

Malkan states, “Of all the products in Skin Deep, those that change the shape and color of hair, such as relaxers, perms & dyes- along with nail products and skin lighteners- have the most toxic ingredients” (p.69). As we all know, all these products are highly targeted towards people of African decent, especially in the United States. For example, Malkan mentions conditioners that are marketed towards African Americans or black women, which contain Placenta. Placenta supposedly makes the hair stronger and more manageable, but at a cost. Placenta containing products contain estrogenic hormones that are linked to breast cancer. 
 
African Americans have a greater rate of invasive breast cancer than white women. Even more shockingly, Malkan (2009) states that, African Americans under 40 years of age are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women and are more likely to die of this disease at any age. WHAT A DISPARITY!

Now unto the topic of Skin Lighteners!
In addition, skin whitening products are HIGHLY targeted towards Asians (Malkan, 2009). Much of this skin whitening agents hydroquinone, which works as a skin lightener by decreasing/preventing the production of melanin in skin. Hydroquinone also helps to fade acne scars and dark spots. However, hydroquinone is a carcinogen (cancer-causing). Therefore, it is very toxic to the skin, brain, immune system and reproductive system. Surprisingly, hydroquinone is banned in the European Union, but it is allowed in the United States, which begs the question: Why is it that Europe is taking precaution, but the United States isn't?

 A Great Tip: Please visit www.cosmeticdatabase.com or www.ewg.org/skindeep/
On this website you can type the shampoos,conditioners, hair sprays, lotions, nail polish or any other cosmetic or beauty product in the search box. Upon which, the website will determine the toxicity level of your product. The website will also give you any information to any none cancer(s) associated with your product, any warnings etc. I highly recommend this site.We should know the ingredients that are in our products. 

Cosmetic companies are concerned about selling products to make money. If we want to be smart consumers, I think we should pay very close attention to the ingredient list in these products. If you are looking for a book to read, I highly recommend this book.

I hope this post was helpful!
Lilia