Archive | August 7, 2010

The Eternal Quest for Beauty.

The Eternal Quest for Beauty.‎

By Hwaa Irfan

During the month of Ramadhan, our bodies will be in a state of rest and purification ‎by breaking away from the bad habits that have developed throughout the year. ‎However, before we return to those pre-Ramadhan habits after we have broken our fast every night, us ladies should take ‎a second look before we decide to deny our skin the right to breathe again.

As ‎the world of physical attraction continues to market its illusions, it is not telling ‎us the real content of its beauty products. ‎

Healthy skin needs oxygen and needs to release carbon dioxide. However what ‎we put on our faces can inhibit this natural cycle. Wide- ranging ingredients with ‎chemical sounding names confuse and convince us. Mineral oils in skin creams ‎are actually from crude oil. Forming an oily film, it suffocates the skin. In holding ‎large amounts of moisture on the skin it causes immature, unhealthy and ‎sensitive skin that dries out easily. So what do we do, we buy more cream! ‎

The US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the Center for Food Safety ‎and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) estimated that $35 billion is spent in the US ‎annually on cosmetics alone . A staggering figure for an industry that remains ‎largely unaccountable for its products. Director of FDA’s Office of Colors and ‎Cosmetics, John Bailey stated:

    “If we see we’re getting a number of complaints ‎for the same product, then that is cause for concern.”

He referred to ‘organisms’ in ‎the atmosphere that could affect the preservatives in the products. However, a ‎study by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group found these ‎preservatives to be the second most common cause of allergic reactions and ‎hypoallergenic products only offer a partial solution.‎

One of the foremost preservatives used is formaldehyde. US made cosmetics ‎may include Quaternium 15, a formaldehyde-releasing agent found in deoderized soaps, mascara, talcum powders, ‎foundation creams and firming facial creams. It is also in shampoos, ‎conditioners, fluoride toothpaste, ‎mouth -washes, hair colors and nail varnish. The Garden Botanika market ‎‎‘natural’ ‎cosmetics that contain diazolidinyl urea – a formaldehyde releasing preservative. ‎Formaldehyde is a known carcinogenic.‎

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate are ‎detergent emulsifiers added to remove oil and soil from the skin. A study in the ‎Journal of American College Toxicology found that the longer these chemicals ‎stayed in contact with the skin, the greater the irritation.

Common in shampoos, ‎Tom Mower’s of Images International found SLS inhibited hair growth, caused ‎hair loss and cataracts if it got into the eyes! Industry uses SLS as a garage ‎floor cleaner, an engine degreaser. SLS is known to cause potentially ‎carcinogenic nitrates to form in skin cleaners from its reaction with other ‎ingredients. It is cheap and small amounts are required to generate a large ‎amount of foam. When salt is added the foam thickens. SLS has a systemic ‎effect, causing liver abnormalities and kidney damage when in contact with the ‎skin. It is retained in the eyes, brain, heart, liver and kidneys with potential ‎long-term effects .‎

Since last year, a FDA initiated the ‘Imported Cosmetics Program’. However it is ‎dependent on voluntary participation from the industry and only focuses on ‎imported products, which only constitutes 1-2% of annual American consumer ‎expenditure.‎

Second though is also required on natural products. John Bailey of FDA said:

    ‎‎‘There are no standards for what ‘natural’ means and who’s to say what they’re ‎actually using.”

The cosmetics trade journal Drug and Cosmetic Industry stated:

    “ ‎All plants (including those in cosmetics) can be heavily contaminated with ‎bacteria, pesticides and chemical fertilizers widely used to improve crop yields”. ‎

For example cerebrosides in skin products provide a smoother skin surface. ‎Marketed as ‘luminous’ and ‘improved hydration’, it is produced from the ‎deepest layer of the skin. Secreting into outer cells, it serves as a protective ‎coating, providing the skins moisture and suppleness. The raw material for ‎cerebrosides comes from cattle, oxen and swine nervous system tissues and ‎occasionally plants . ‎

As a part of FDA’s voluntary program they ‎aim to regulate bovine substances from cattle born, raised, or slaughtered in ‎countries where BSE exists, but this doesn’t fair well for American Muslims who ‎might be using creams with cerebrosides sourced from the US bred swine. ‎

Collagen comes from the connective tissue of young cows and ground chicken ‎feet. It has a moisturizing effect, but it is an insoluble fibrous protein, too large ‎to penetrate the skin. ‎

And the list goes on…‎

There is no evidence that vitamins added to cosmetics can penetrate the skin, ‎Aloe Vera added to products is too small to be beneficial and the claim that ‎human placenta can stimulate tissue growth and remove wrinkles goes ‎unproven. Bentonite is porous clay that expands many times its dried volume ‎when it absorbs water. Found in foundation products, it clogs the pores and ‎suffocates the skin. The popular glycerin draws moisture from inside the skin ‎and holds it on the surface drying the skin inside -out.‎

We all like to believe that we are in charge of our lives, but the global beauty ‎industry is a clear example of the impositions of a Westernized/globalized which ‎out of it’s Catholic heritage hence its colonial past, the West has implanted a ‎particular notion of beauty that many women of colour suffer from, and many ‎women in the West have fall blindly for. This notion is the notion of perfection, ‎which permeates our lives from childhood through our parents, relatives, ‎friends, and media, through to school where we learn to not like very much ‎about ourselves. This self intolerance then moves onto color platonic and ‎personal relationships. However often do men subject their women to that ‎idealism? Unfortunately, a growing number of Muslim husbands are subjecting ‎their wives to this notion of perfection by discouraging their wives to wear hijab, ‎or to dress in a particular way. Once all the changes have been made, the ‎appeal has been lost because that is not what strengthens the bonds of ‎marriage. Entrained by images projected by the music industry, and ‎pornography in particular, there are some men who are not attracted physically ‎to the women they love. They admit this, and they know the cause, lost in the ‎abyss between what they love and what they are attracted to. A pseudo-life in ‎suspended animation, This inner dislike is so prevalent that it is considered ‎normal. Only when we explore the effect physiological-psychological effect it has ‎on our relationship with ourselves, and consequently others (including those we ‎love), that we begin to realize that something is seriously wrong. ‎

This was originally written in 2001…‎


CIR. “Cosmetics Ingredients Review Alerts”. 2001. 1-2. Ingredient Alert. ‎Cosmetics Ingredients Review.

Dori, Stehlin. “Cosmetic Safety: More Complex Than at First Blush”. FDA ‎Consumer Magazine. May ’95. 1-8. ‎

FDA-CSFAN #1. “FDA Authority over Cosmetics”. 02/03/95. 1. Cosmetics. ‎‎

‎ FDA-CFSAN #2. “Cosmetics Compliance Program: Imported Cosmetics ‎Program”. 12/08/00. 1-16. Cosmetics. ‎

Foulke, Judith. “Cosmetic Ingredients: Understanding the Puffery”. FDA ‎Consumer Magazine. May ’92. 1-5. ‎ “Abditus Veritas of Harmful ‎

Ingredients”. 1-6. ‎

Related Topics:
This Ramadhan I Will…

Miller. Linda. “Avoid Skin Care Cosmetics.” Daily Oklahoma. ‎ 1-2. ‎>‎

Scidiv. “Formaldehyde”. 1. Cosmetics. 12/12/01. ‎

Related Topics:
This Ramadhan I Will…
Society Says Your Body Not Your Mind
The Ideology of Charisma
Finding the Real You!