Experts: Cosmetics best used in moderation

Women are using increasing amounts of cosmetics—which means their exposure to chemicals in cosmetic products is also growing. Meanwhile the long-term effects of such chemicals are not yet known, even though they are closely monitored.

Physiology Professor Jorma Toppari from the University of Turku points out that, if something is legal, it is not necessarily healthy.

“We’ve got a massive test on humans underway. There are still thousands of chemicals in cosmetics which haven’t been tested for long-term effects or impact on foetuses,” Toppari says.

However it is difficult to conduct thorough tests on cosmetics, since people daily encounter hundreds, if not thousands of chemicals.

The law dictates that make-up products should not be absorbed into the bloodstream. Nonetheless cosmetics do get absorbed into the surface layers of the skin. Toppari says that a wide spectrum of various chemicals can be found in our blood—some coming through air and food, but others also from products like make-up.

Toppari suggests using cosmetics in moderation or, if one wants to be on the safe side, not at all.

Women particularly exposed

The consumption of cosmetic products is on the rise. The average Finn now spends 170 euros on cosmetic products a year. This is twice more than 15 years ago.

Women are the ones buying most cosmetics, so they are naturally also the ones most exposed to the chemicals contained in such products. It does not help that feminine hygiene products also use chemicals, such as preservatives.