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The downside to looking good

Lachmi D Roy
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HEALTH We want to look good all the time but we are unaware that some chemicals present in cosmetics can cause cancer

PART OF THE JOBStudents training to become flight attendants learn to apply makeup during a grooming sessionPhoto:K.R. Deepak
PART OF THE JOBStudents training to become flight attendants learn to apply makeup during a grooming sessionPhoto:K.R. Deepak

Looking and feeling great is vital to all of us. Women, especially, wear make-up to look attractive, likeable and competent. But those little cosmetic pouches we carry in our bags can be a source of skin diseases and even cancer. Dermatologist Dr. Sumona Roy from Vizag says, “Cosmetics are a complex combination of chemicals. Amongst the many chemicals that are used in cosmetics, some of them may cause skin allergies, skin irritation, acne, dry and scaly skins.”

Deodorants are now commonly used by men and women. But some chemicals present in deodorants are associated with cancer. According to Dr. Roy, “Parabens which are present in cosmetics are the main cause of cancer. Parabens are used in cosmetics to increase their shelf life.” Parabens are found not only in deodorants but also in blushers and lipsticks.

Researchers at Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Research have shown that lipsticks contain poly methyl methacrylate, which may cause allergic reactions and toxicity. Scented products can give you headache, dizziness, rash, skin discolouration, and skin allergies.

Another bad habit is holding on to our creams and lotions for years. “I tell my daughter to throw away all her old beauty products, says Aruna Rao, mother of a 17-year-old, “but she loves to preserve them for years and uses them stingily. I try to make her understand that beauty products have a shelf life and hence should not be used after that.”

“Women love to treasure their beauty products,” says Renuka Patil, who runs a beauty parlour in the city. “The fact is that one should always go through one’s shelf of beauty products and check the date of manufacture like we do for our medicines and food products. There are some ingredients and preservatives used in the products which after the expiry date can risk your health.”

We all know that sharing is caring, but sharing make-up products should not be encouraged. “Sharing of eye-liners, eye-shadows, lipsticks, lip gloss and face powders can cause herpes virus transfer from one person to another,” adds Renuka.

Products that are meant to make your skin look good often have the opposite effect. Heavy make-up may hide dark circles, spots and acne scars, but after a while it blocks the pores, causing worse acne. It ages the skin prematurely, too. So say no to anything that damages your skin and stay naturally beautiful and healthy. Nutritionist Samreedhi Sharma from Mumbai says, “One just needs to eat healthy. Have three to four portions of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water to feel and look good.”

Lachmi D Roy

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