As a key ethanol supplier for the cosmetic industry, we’re aware more than most of what makes up some of the world’s best-loved cosmetics, however, a recent study into products for women of colour is something we’ve followed with interest.
According to The Independent, experts have warned that cosmetics specifically marketed at this demographic have higher level of toxins such as mercury, steroids and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
The study found that these toxins, which can be found in products such as ‘skin lightening’ creams, were much more apparent in the bodies of women of colour than white women. It is thought some skin lighteners can contain hidden ingredients including steroids and mercury.
Likewise, hair straightening beauty products, such as relaxers, have been found to be laced with the hormone oestrogen, which can cause premature development in young girls, as well as tumours in the uterus.
Other side effects of these toxins include possible fertility issues as well as affecting brain development in unborn children. A chemical called DEP, found in vaginal douching products among others, is also linked to these side effects.
This becomes particularly problematic given that the products in question are marketed at helping women of colour achieve ‘European beauty ideals.’
The academics behind the study concluded that this causes discrimination to become biologically embedded through the side effects of these products: “[Doctors] should be aware of the potentially toxic effects of commonly used beauty products, recognize disparities across these demographics, and be prepared to counsel patients who have questions about these and other environmental exposures,” they said.
They hope that this study will raise awareness of the problems these products can cause, especially among pregnant women.