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WHAT DO COSMETICS CONTAIN?

Cosmetics are products designed to cleanse, protect and change the appearance of external parts of our bodies. The key ingredients present in most cosmetics include water, emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners, moisturisers, colours and fragrances.

Ingredients can be naturally occurring or artificial, but any potential impact on our health depends mainly on the chemical compounds they are made of. The doses of potentially dangerous chemicals found in cosmetics are considered too small to pose a risk to human health.

What do cosmetics contain?

There are thousands of different cosmetic products on the market, all with differing combinations of ingredients. In the United States alone there are approximately 12,500 unique chemical ingredients approved for use in the manufacture of personal care products.

A typical product will contain anything from 15–50 ingredients. Considering the average woman uses between 9 and 15 personal care products per day, researchers have estimated that, when combined with the addition of perfumes, women place around 515 individual chemicals on their skin each day through cosmetic use.

But what exactly are we putting on our skin? What do those long names on the ingredient list mean and what do they do? While the formula of each product differs slightly, most cosmetics contain a combination of at least some of the following core ingredients: water, emulsifier, preservative, thickener, emollient, colour, fragrance and pH stabilisers.

So let’s stay safe, keep an eye on what you are applying.

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