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Choosing safe products can be a daunting task without educating yourself with proper knowledge and tools. There is a woeful lack of regulation in the personal care and beauty aids industry. Many product packages are deceptively designed to make you believe that the product inside the package is herbal, all natural, safe and gentle, when in fact the product contains little or no natural or herbal ingredients, is contaminated with carcinogens and is irritating to the skin. Being forewarned with a little knowledge there is much you can do to protect yourself.

Below are some things you can do to make safer and healthier choices when selecting your toiletries.

Read the ingredients on the label.

To really find out what's in a product, you must read the ingredients in the small print, you know, the ones that you sometimes need a magnifying glass to be able to see.

Interpret and understand the ingredients.

Look up all the ingredients if you have any questions . There are many watchdog groups online that list every ingredient used in cosmetics.

Choose products without parabens.

Avoid amines.

Steer clear of products containing talc.

Talc is found in talcum powder, baby powder and makeup. It is a carcinogen if it contains asbestiform fibers. The quantity of asbestiform fibers in cosmetic-grade talc is unregulated in the U.S. Some research suggests a link between talc and ovarian cancer.

Be cautious about products that contain fragrance.

Manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients used in frgrances. A single fragrance may contain hundreds of different chemicals. Some of the chemicals used in fragrances are hazardous, such as benzyl chloride, methyl ethyl ketone, methylene chloride, toluene and phthalates. Fragrances may also contain chemicals that cause cancer.

Avoid Artificial Colors.

Most D&C and FD&C colors are derived from coal tar which is a carcinogen. Most coal tar colors are potential carcinogens, may contain carcinogenic contaminants and cause allergic reactions.

Beware of products containing chemical preservatives.

Look for labels listing "and other ingredients."

Beware of long ingredient lists.

These statements and/or content have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not intended as medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any specific illness.



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