Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Can Make-up Actually Improve Your Skin? March 6, 2014

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 8:00 am
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The older I get the more I need make-up.  Though that doesn’t mean that I won’t leave the house without a full face of make-up it does mean that I have realized that a few strategically placed make-up products do make a big difference in my appearance.  Some days I have the time and the inclination to put on eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara along with my other essential make-up steps, and other days I just make sure that I fill in my brows with brow powder, use undereye concealer, face powder, face concealer, and a little lip tint.  It’s the little things that can make a big impact.  You don’t have to use a lot of make-up to look polished and put together even if all you are doing is going to the grocery store.  No one has flawless skin; everyone has a beauty feature or two that make-up can help look better.  For instance, my brows are sparse so filling them in with brow powder makes a big impact on my face.  I never seem to get enough sleep so using undereye concealer helps me look more rested.  And no matter how much skincare knowledge I amass my skin still has post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, blackheads, breakouts, and blotchiness so using a foundation (either powder or cream) and a concealer makes me feel like I am putting my best face forward to the world (even if that world is just the grocery store clerks and patrons).  Make-up gives you confidence.  Make-up is fun.

But some people still worry that wearing make-up on a daily basis, particularly foundation, is actually bad for their skin instead of good for it.  There is a persistent skincare myth that our skin needs to “breathe” and by wearing make-up we are preventing that important function from taking place.  I’ve already debunked this myth in a previous post: Does Your Skin Need to Detoxify/Breathe?, but I’ll revisit the topic here briefly. I quoted Discovery Health in that previous post and let me once again share what they had to say about this topic:

Every day, a barrage of advertisements for various cosmetics, oils and ointments assault our eyes and ears, all claiming to “let your skin breathe.” But does your skin actually “breathe”? Does it really take in enough oxygen to keep you alive?

Not unless you’re an amphibian, an earthworm or a Julia Creek dunnart. Although it can’t perform the functions of respiration, your skin can absorb fat-soluble substances, including vitamins A,D, E and K, along with steroid hormones such as estrogen. Many menopausal women, for example, have estrogen patches to thank for their relief from hot flashes, while nicotine patches have relieved cravings for many smokers trying to kick the habit. So, while the skin can’t breathe, it can take substances from the outside and bring them in, including a little oxygen.

The skin and its appendages, such as hair and nails, make up the integumentary system. The word integumentary comes from Latin, meaning “to cover,” and that is the skin’s main purpose — to keep the world out and our internal organs protected. By its very nature, skin does not help us breathe.   …

What does help us breathe is the respiratory system. The respiratory system is responsible for getting oxygen to our blood and removing carbon dioxide from the body. When we inhale, we take in oxygen through our mouth and nose and into the lungs. In the lungs, the oxygen flows into the blood through the arteries, while veins deliver carbon dioxide back to the lungs. From the lungs, we exhale the carbon dioxide back out into the atmosphere, and the process begins again.

So why might we be led to believe that oxygen can pass through the skin?

Misconceptions and Myths

Many people are convinced that we pull in oxygen through our pores, and cosmetic companies capitalize on this belief — at least through unspoken messages — by claiming that their products “let the skin breathe.” If pressed, the manufacturers would probably say what they really mean is that the cosmetics and creams are non-comedogenic, meaning they don’t block pores. This prevents acne from building up, not suffocation. Some companies take it a step further and claim that their products contain oxygen that your skin will absorb. Since your skin doesn’t have the capacity to absorb and use oxygen, dermatologists warn that this is totally bogus. The closest thing to pure oxygen in a skin care product is benzoyl peroxide, which kills acne-causing bacteria by oxidizing fatty acids.

Many people believe the urban legend that Buddy Ebsen, cast as the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz,” nearly died because the aluminum in the makeup that gave him his silvery sheen clogged his pores. In fact, Ebsen did wind up in the hospital and was replaced, but it was attributed to an allergic reaction or an infection in his lungs caused by the aluminum dust. Needless to say, the makeup was modified for new scarecrow Jack Haley, and he danced through the role without incident.

Another famous movie incident involves 1964′s “Goldfinger.” After discovering his secretary has betrayed him, the villain Goldfinger paints her entirely — hair and all — with gold paint. Looking at her lifeless body, James Bond explains that the paint closed the pores she needed for respiration. In 1964, it seems, this was a medically accepted belief. The filmmakers took no chances and were careful to leave a patch of actress’s Shirley Eaton’s skin unpainted when shooting the scene.

Having gotten that issue out of the way, let’s focus again on the actual topic of this post: can using make-up actually help or even improve the appearance of your skin?  Esthetician Renee Rouleau certainly thinks so:

The fact is, wearing makeup (appropriate for your skin type) offers a barrier of protection against harmful UV rays. UV rays from the sun is the #1 reason for skin aging. It’s not genetics, smoking, and believe it or not, even age. The sun is the skin’s WORST enemy. Most types of makeup contain sunscreen and even if they don’t indicate an SPF number, most have UV-protecting ingredients like Titanium Dioxide. Based on this benefit from wearing makeup, I never leave my skin bare and never suggest my clients to do so either. So do your skin a favor and start wearing makeup NOW, to prevent wrinkles in your future.

(From Is Wearing Foundation Makeup Daily Bad for Your Skin?)

And what of make-up that promises anti-aging or the like?  The New York Times explored this topic in the article Promises from the Powder Room:

Light-reflecting. Acne-fighting. Energizing. Face powder, long associated with grandmothers and a dusty, chalky look, has been remade. Some companies say the product is not only a cosmetic, but also a face treatment, and are loading it with SPF, antioxidants and vitamins. …

Marketing hype aside, some doctors agree that powders pack more of a punch these days. “People have seen the utility of BB creams; they like getting many effects from the same products,” said Dr. Neal Schultz, a cosmetic dermatologist in private practice in Manhattan and founder of DermTV.com. “These are great for people who want fewer products to apply, and an oil absorber.”

But others say that the “poof — all gone” effects that these powders promise are basically stardust and mirrors. “I’m increasingly skeptical with products that over-promise,” said Ron Robinson, a Manhattan chemist specializing in the technology of cosmetic ingredients and the founder of BeautyStat.com, which reviews new products. “Where’s the clinical testing that validates their claims?”

“The blurring component is true,” he said, but “claims that it will reshape, sculpt and improve wrinkles are benefits few skin-care creams and serums designed to plump and firm the skin can offer.”  …

“There’s a real science to these products and to the ingredients in them, which help and maintain the skin,” said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. But he pointed out that a powder’s visual effects vanish once the product is removed; its particles are too big to penetrate skin.

As for long-term benefits: “That has yet to be determined,” Dr. Zeichner said. “If you use products like this on a regular basis and take care of your skin, it’s possible these powders can help slow down the aging process.”  …

Dr. Francesca Fusco, a Manhattan dermatologist, says she is firmly pro-powder, at least when it comes to the new modern products. “A powder won’t replace your moisturizer, serum or retinol, but it’s a great added extra,” she said. “For not a lot of money you can get a flawless look. And that’s better than using nothing.”

So when it comes to your make-up should you trust it to transform your skin long after you remove it?  Personally I am still very skeptical that a few extra ingredients mixed into your cream or powder foundation will be your anti-aging or anti-acne answer, but the better you look the better you feel and that is truly transformative.

My Related Posts:

Image from makeupandbeautyblog.com

 

Beauty Products That Make Me Happy August 27, 2012

Filed under: beauty — askanesthetician @ 4:19 am
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I’ve been in the process of moving for over a month now, and at this point my life feels rather chaotic.  Being in a constant state of flux, not feeling settled, and having to live without a lot of your stuff makes you appreciate your things – both the things you have with you and the things you don’t have with you.*  And realizing that you can live with less is also a very important lesson, for me at least.

In order to make myself feel like everything is normal despite the change happening all around me I turn to my beauty routine and beauty products to feel better.  Making sure I put my make-up on in the morning starts my day off right so that I can face the world even if I nothing my kitchen besides a dull knife, a scratched frying pan, and an old pot. The power of your beauty and make-up routine shouldn’t be underestimated. Making sure my lashes are curled and my mascara is on helps to make me feel normal despite the fact that my life is very different today than it was a week ago.

I’ve written before in this blog how a little mascara, some blush, and lip gloss can do wonders psychologically for everyone. I’ve seen it with the cancer patients I worked with through Look Good … Feel Better, and I feel it now myself.   So I guess I am really suggesting that if you’re experiencing a lot of change keep up your beauty routine in order to bring some normalcy back to your life.

And so in no particular order here are the beauty products that make me feel good:

  • Tarte Amazonian clay smart mascara – I really can’t vouch for any of the company’s claims about what this mascara does for the health of your lashes, but I can tell you that it goes on easily and leaves me with full, lush lashes. And I’ll be relying on mascara to give me fabulous looking lashes since all my Latisse spilled out of its container somewhere over the Atlantic while flying to my new home.
  • Any and all of Urban Decay’s 24/7 eyeliners.  Also Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide On Eye Shadow Pencils make applying eye shadow a snap especially when you are not in your normal make-up applying environment.
  • Nars The Multiple, especially the shade Orgasm.  I’m certainly not the first and won’t be the last to talk about how fabulous this product is both as make-up and as a shade.  Easy to use, always looks great.
  • Sugar rose color tinted lip treatment from Fresh with spf 15.  Gives me natural color along with sun protection quickly and easily.

 

If I had a wine glass I would raise it now to the power of make-up as a feel good tool.  I always travel with lip gloss in my purse for a reason.

 

*And I don’t want to even begin to talk about the horrible things that are happening to my skin as I move from place to place and climate to climate.  Distressing to say the least.

Photo from colourbox.com

 

Products I’ve Been Trying July 9, 2012

Lately I’ve had an opportunity  to try some new skincare products and make-up.  I thought I would share with my readers what I’ve been trying.

Through this blog I was approached by Sue Nelson from L’bri Pure and Natural skincare who asked if I wanted to their products.  She was nice enough to send me sample sizes of products for both normal to oily skin that I could try and normal to dry products for my friend Sarah to try.  A few things about this line – all the products are aloe vera based* as opposed to water based like most skincare products (check your products and you’ll see that the first ingredient in most skincare products is water), are paraben free (if that is important to you), contain no artificial colors or fragrances, and no mineral oil or waxes.  It does not say anywhere in the literature or website that the products are organic so keep that in mind if that is important to you.

I tried the deep pore cleanser, the deep pore freshener, the oil-free moisture lotion, and the facial masque.  I was also sent a sample of the rejuvenating facial peel, but I can’t comment on it too much because I didn’t bother to read the directions before trying it and completely misused it all up.  My bad.  I have to say that I liked the feel of all the products.  The mask left my face very smooth and soft, but it also tightened to an extreme extent.  I happen to be claustrophobic so having a product on my face that was tight didn’t make me happy one bit, but I was pleased with the end result.  I especially liked the oil free moisturizer because it managed to be rich and creamy but also light on the skin.  A lot of moisturizers for oily skin can feel too light so I liked how this one moisturizer felt and worked.  I think the normal to oily skin products I tried are good for just that – someone with a little more than normal amount of oil in their skin.  I don’t think that these products would work well for someone with active acne breakouts at all.

My friend Sarah raved about the products she tried saying that they she liked the way they felt on her skin and how her skin looked and felt after using them.  She particularly liked the facial masque (the same one that I tried) and gave the line a thumbs up.

In all, if you are looking for a natural skincare line you might want to give L’bri a try.  Of the products I tried my favorites were the oil free moisturizer and the facial masque.

As an aside, if you are wondering why aloe is good for the skin this is what Paula Begoun has to say about aloe in her online cosmetic ingredient dictionary:

In pure form, aloe vera’s benefits on skin are probably its lack of occlusion and the refreshing sensation it provides. Aloe serves as a water-binding agent for skin due to its polysaccharide (complex carbohydrate) and sterol content. (An example of a sterol that’s beneficial for skin is cholesterol) Although research has shown aloe also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial qualities, no study has proven it to be superior to other ingredients with similar properties, including vitamin C, green tea, pomegranate, and many other antioxidants (Source: http://www.naturaldatabase.com).

*There are other skincare lines that are aloe based liked Lexli.

Another skincare line I’ve been trying products from and absolutely love is called Tecniche.  I was introduced to this line when I took my oncology esthetics class through Touch for Cancer.  As part of the class we were given full size products to use on the cancer patients we worked with and to try ourselves.  This line is extremely gentle so it can be used by anyone with compromised skin, and it is organic and paraben free.  The line’s tagline is:  “savvy science for healing sensitive skin”.  The philosophy behind the skincare line is explained this way:

Tecniche™ Savvy Science products are the gentlest anti-age cosmeceutical products in the skincare industry, uniting the once-separate branches of cosmeceutical/anti-age and sensitive/healing.

Tecniche™ products are designed specifically for the short- and long-term care of sensitive skin. In the short-term, your skin will be comforted, softened and balanced. In the long-term, the gentle introduction of cosmeceutical-strength ingredients will strengthen and revitalize your skin for a beautiful future.

I certainly do not have sensitive skin, but I’ve loved all the products I tried from this line.  I was so pleased with everything I got during my class that I went and set-up an account with Tecniche so I could buy more products.  So far I’ve tried and loved:

  • Plantae Foaming Wash – creamy and non stripping this cleanser leaves my skin feeling fabulous
  • Jojoba Polish and Jadease Mask worked great during facials and client’s skin was soft and had a great glow to it afterwards (which is always something you want to achieve with facials)
  • The DNA Care Natural SPF 30 is thicker than the sunscreens I usually use but it absorbs nicely and quickly into the skin
  • Joy Mist is a great way to set your mineral make-up and an excellent toner

I’ve bought but still have to try the SupremeC Serum, the Taheebo Nail Balmand Incredible Enzymes.  I was delighted to find Tecniche’s Unscented Massage Oil which I think is amazing.  My regular 100% jojoba oil just wasn’t cutting during facial massages because of all the extremely dehydrated skin I see here in Chicago.  The Tecniche massage oil has been a fabulous addition to my facials.  I highly recommend it to all my fellow estheticians.

I was surprised by how much I’ve loved this line.  I’ve tried a lot of different skincare products over the years so I was very skeptical when I was given this line to try.  But now I love it.  Really!  You can purchase Tecniche through a licensed professional.  It is a great line for all skin types but particularly for compromised skin (like people with cancer) or those with sensitive skin.  One last thing, the other estheticians in my oncology esthetics class also really loved the Tecniche products we all got to try.

I got a chance to try a few Youngblood Cosmetics through my job.  I like my make-up to look natural and Youngblood certainly fulfilled that goal.  I tried liquid foundation, the loose powder foundation, and the moisture tint.  Though I liked all the products the moisture tint was my favorite.  The shadow and blush that I tried went on smoothly and looked fresh and natural.  The primer was excellent as well.  But of all the products I tried my favorite has to be the ultimate concealer.  It worked on my undereye circles, my red spots, and blemishes.  It blended seamlessly into my skin.  A fabulous find!  There are a lot of mineral make-up lines available, but this is definitely one that I can get behind and recommend.  (It was also started my an esthetician; I always like to hear fellow esthetician success stories)

Have you been trying any new products lately?  If yes, please share below.

 

Achieving the ‘No Make-up’ Make-up Look June 4, 2012

Filed under: make-up — askanesthetician @ 5:00 am
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A while back someone came into our office and wanted to know what few make-up products she could add to her routine so that she looked a bit more refreshed and put together on a daily basis.  After I launched into my lecture about how everyone should use a bit of blush, lip gloss, and mascara daily she asked me what make-up I had on since I looked naturally made-up.  So I had to stop and think about what make-up I wear on a daily basis; make-up that I hope makes me look like a better version of myself without looking overdone.

So here’s the list of make-up I use daily:

  • brow powder
  • clear brow gel
  • eyeliner
  • shadow primer
  • eye shadow
  • under eye concealer
  • mascara
  • pressed powder foundation (applied with a fluffy brush)
  • bronzer
  • blush
  • lip stain or lip gloss
Yes, I use all those products daily in order to achieve my natural looking make-up.  And of course this brings me to the point of this post – how do you achieve a ‘no make-up’ make-up look?
A ‘no-make-up’ make-up look is meant to enhance your best features and conceal your flaws while making you look like a better version of yourself, naturally, in the process.  Creating this make-up look doesn’t have to take a long time, but it does take a few steps.
In her post The ‘No Makeup’ Look  The UnTrendy Girl outlines nine steps to achieving this make-up look.  (The photo that illustrates this post comes from this blog)  I’ll outline the steps:
  • The first step to achieving a ‘no-make-up’ make-up look is to create flawless looking skin.  And let me be clear, I’ve said this in the past and I’ll say it again – NO ONE has perfect skin.  That is why they invented make-up – use it!  Prep your skin with moisturizer and/or primer and use your foundation of choice – liquid, mineral, powder, etc.
  • If you need concealer use that as well.  Some people need concealer on different spots on their face and other people just need it under their eyes.
  • Almost everyone needs blush but bronzer is an optional step.  Bronzer helps to warm up a pale face and give you a healthy glow.
  • For your eyes at the very least curl your lashes and use the mascara of your choice.
  • If you have more time and inclination use eyeliner and shadow as well.  You can use one color of shadow or two or three.  One color from lash line to just above the crease looks the most natural.
  • Now don’t forget your brows – our brows really do frame our face, and it is very important to keep them well-groomed.  My brows are sparse so that is why I fill them in with powder daily.  My brow hair is curly so that is why I set it everyday with clear brow gel.
  • Lastly, use a stain, gloss, or lipstick on your lips.  You can even use a tinted lip balm or chapstick.  Whatever floats your boat.
The queen of natural looking make-up is Bobbi Brown.  Her website has an excellent tutorial in order to teach you all the steps in order to achieve a natural looking make-up look.
So the next time you think that someone you saw or someone you know looks naturally flawless – think again.  Perhaps they have just mastered the ‘no make-up’ make-up look.
For more on Bobbi Brown you can read about her in Voguepedia.
Another article about achieving a natural make-up look from The New York Times T MagazineThe Naked Face.
Also have a look at Lisa Eldridge’s tutorial for a no make-up look.
My Related Posts:

Image from theuntrendygirl.com

 

The Transformative Power of Make-up March 5, 2012

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 6:00 am
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If you like fashion then you are already keenly aware of the fact that Fashion Week has been going on all over the world for the last few weeks – New York, London, Milan, and now Paris.

During all these different fashion weeks The New York Times always has a fun feature called Model Morphsis that allows you to see simultaneously what models look like before and after they are made up for fashion shows. This tool allows the viewer to really understand just how transformative the application of make-up can be.

One more thing – if you are secretly hoping (I’ll admit I kinda was) that the models look terrible without make-up you’ll have no such luck.  But the before photos do make it clear that even models do not have perfect looking skin and show up for work with dark under eye circles.

Have fun looking through the different make-up looks!  Now if I could only have been born with those model cheekbones.

 

Truth in Beauty Advertising – There Isn’t Much Out There January 9, 2012

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 6:05 am
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Perhaps you have already heard that the above CoverGirl advertisement has been withdrawn from publications by CoverGirl’s parent company Procter and Gamble because the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus ruled that the ad was misleading.  I have to say that I applaud both this ruling and the fact that Procter and Gamble withdrew the ad from publications.  One of my pet peeves about the beauty industry is that ads for cosmetics and skincare are so air brushed and unrealistic looking that they set-up unattainable goals for real women about how they should look and can look.

Here’s the scoop on what happened with the CoverGirl ad:

There’s a certain Taylor Swift ad for CoverGirl mascara that you won’t be seeing in American magazines any time soon.

In the ad, for CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara, Ms. Swift’s eyelashes have been enhanced after the fact to look even fuller, and, as a result, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus ruled this month that it was misleading.

In response, Procter & Gamble, the owner of the CoverGirl brand, “permanently discontinued all of the challenged claims and the photograph in its advertisement,” the ruling said.

In a statement, Procter & Gamble said: “Our scientists work very closely with our advertising teams to ensure that benefits are accurately portrayed, and P&G’s policy is to feature visuals and claims that accurately reflect these benefits. As soon as we were aware that the N.A.D. had concerns, we voluntarily discontinued the advertising — a move that the N.A.D. itself regarded as entirely proper.”

This is the first time the advertising division has brought a claim like this against a cosmetics company, said Linda Bean, a spokeswoman for the advertising group.  …

In the Procter & Gamble case, the advertising division looked at both the express claims made in the ad and what was being implied, Ms. Bean said. The express claims were that the mascara would give eyelashes “2x more volume” and that the product was “20 percent lighter” than the most expensive mascara.

But, she added: “The photograph stands as a product demonstration. Your eyelashes will look like this if you use this product.”

The fine print under a photo of Ms. Swift read that the lashes had been “enhanced in post production.”

Andrea C. Levine, a lawyer who worked on the case and who is the director of the National Advertising Division, said on Wednesday: “This isn’t a question of airbrushing. It’s a question of actually demonstrating what your lashes will look like when you use this product.”

Lawyers at the advertising division routinely scour print publications, broadcast, television and social media to find misleading advertisements. They also help settle claims of misleading advertising that competing companies bring against each other.

“The rule is that an advertising has to be truthful, accurate and not misleading,” Ms. Levine said. “What the picture says, the small type can’t take it away.”

(Source:  CoverGirl Withdraws ‘Enhanced’ Taylor Swift Ad – The New York Times)

The UK is well ahead of the US in cracking down on misleading photos and ads for make-up.  Back in July of 2011 ads from L’Oreal and Maybelline were banned in the UK for being overly airbrushed.  British ads are regulated by an independent body called the Advertising Standards Authority which works to make sure that the ads are truly presenting consumers with truthful, not misleading, information.  In the US the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) oversees advertising yet airbrushed ads are very rarely withdrawn or even commented upon by the authorities.  Let’s put it this way – cosmetic companies have a lot, and I mean a lot, of wiggle room when it comes to how they can promote their products both with the images and the words they use.  Buyer beware.

I do have to applaud the attitude and actions of one make-up company – Make Up For Ever.  This company has started running print ads that are not airbrushed.  Hooray!  I hope more companies follow suit.

Further Reading:

Photo from The New York Times

 

Is Cruelty Free Really Cruelty Free? January 2, 2012

I’ve been a vegetarian for ethical reasons for the past 21 years so it stands to reason that I do not use cosmetics or skincare products that have been tested on animals.  I also, of course, make sure that all the make-up brushes are cruelty free as well (Urban Decay makes fabulous, but pricy, vegan brushes and Eco Tools has great lower priced brushes).

Unfortunately finding cruelty free cosmetics is not as straight forward as it would seem to be.  Keep a few things in mind when looking for cosmetics or skincare products that are not tested on animals.  It turns out that terms such as “cruelty free” or “not tested on animals” are not overseen or regulated by any government body and are essentially meaningless.  According to the FDA:

Some cosmetic companies promote their products with claims such as “CRUELTY-FREE” or “NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS” in their labeling or advertising. The unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms.

Some companies may apply such claims solely to their finished cosmetic products. However, these companies may rely on raw material suppliers or contract laboratories to perform any animal testing necessary to substantiate product or ingredient safety. Other cosmetic companies may rely on combinations of scientific literature, non-animal testing, raw material safety testing, or controlled human-use testing to substantiate their product safety.

Many raw materials, used in cosmetics, were tested on animals years ago when they were first introduced. A cosmetic manufacturer might only use those raw materials and base their “cruelty-free” claims on the fact that the materials or products are not “currently” tested on animals.

You may ask yourself if cosmetics really do need to be tested on animals in order to be sure that are safe for human use.  The FDA does not actually require animal testing in order to establish that a cosmetic is safe for human use, but they don’t out right discourage its use either:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for assuring that cosmetics are safe and properly labeled. This mission is accomplished through enforcement of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), related statutes, and regulations promulgated under these laws.

The FD&C Act does not specifically require the use of animals in testing cosmetics for safety, nor does the Act subject cosmetics to FDA premarket approval. However, the agency has consistently advised cosmetic manufacturers to employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products. It remains the responsibility of the manufacturer to substantiate the safety of both ingredients and finished cosmetic products prior to marketing.

Animal testing by manufacturers seeking to market new products may be used to establish product safety. In some cases, after considering available alternatives, companies may determine that animal testing is necessary to assure the safety of a product or ingredient. FDA supports and adheres to the provisions of applicable laws, regulations, and policies governing animal testing, including the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy of Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Moreover, in all cases where animal testing is used, FDA advocates that research and testing derive the maximum amount of useful scientific information from the minimum number of animals and employ the most humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability.  …

FDA supports the development and use of alternatives to whole-animal testing as well as adherence to the most humane methods available within the limits of scientific capability when animals are used for testing the safety of cosmetic products. We will continue to be a strong advocate of methodologies for the refinement, reduction, and replacement of animal tests with alternative methodologies that do not employ the use of animals.

The European Union certainly thinks that a lot of animal testing should be severely limited.  The New York Times article Leaving Animals Out of the Cosmetics Picture explains:

On March 11, 2009, the European Union banned cosmetics and personal-products companies from testing their products on animals for things like skin irritancy, sensitivity to light and acute toxicity. The decision also banned the import of cosmetics containing ingredients that have been animal-tested in this way. By March 11, 2013, companies will be forbidden from further tests designed to establish longer-term toxicity.

Unfortunately the US lags behind in establishing a ban on animal testing.  According to The New York Times article:

But no such laws exist in the United States. The closest is the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011, which was introduced on June 24, 2011, (it has yet to be adopted) and encourages, among other things, the development of alternatives to animal testing.

What is interesting about the fact that the FDA or another government branch hasn’t done more to stop animal testing on cosmetic products is that the majority of Americans actually oppose animal testing for cosmetics.  According to an independent survey conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine :

  • 72 percent of respondents agreed that testing cosmetics on animals is unethical.
  • 78 percent agreed that the development of alternatives to animal testing for cosmetics testing is important.
  • 61 percent said cosmetics and personal care product companies should not be allowed to test products on animals.
  • 58 percent said they would purchase cruelty-free personal care products.

 

So how do you make sure the products you are using are cruelty free?  Look up PETA‘s list of companies that do not test on animals or the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics list of companies.  Each of these groups also has symbol that you can find on cosmetics so keep your eyes open for those as well.  You can also help support bans on animal testing through both of these two organizations.

 

 
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