Nearly every modern woman has a drawer full of cosmetic beauty and personal care products to brighten her face, cover blemishes, spruce her hair, close pores and moisturizer her skin.
In fact, according to the Consejo Mexicano de Dermatología, most Mexican women use on average no less than nine separate beauty products with 126 different chemical elements in their daily grooming routines.
Because most of those products are not required to be tested for safety before they go on the market, each year, 25 percent of women suffer allergic or other irritations after using one or more of their cosmetic products.
Problems can range from simple skin irritations to full-blown infections that can leave permanent scarring, said dermatologist Salvador Escobar Francisco, of the Health Secretariat’s Clínica Cinco de Especialidades in Mexico City.
Even products that patients have used for years without negative effects can cause spontaneous reactions without prior warning, he added.
Although most of these personal care products are topical, meaning that they are applied directly to the skin or scalp, the chemical components they contain can be absorbed into the body through the dermis, and that can lead to even more serious health concerns, he said.
Getting around the problem of synthetic chemicals in beauty aids is no easy matter because almost any product that contains water must contain some preservatives.
The beauty products most likely to cause reactions include bath soaps, detergents, antiperspirants, eye makeup, moisturizers, permanent wave lotions, shampoos, long-wearing lip stains and nail polish.
Hair dyes can also be the source of skin reactions, particularly those containing ammonia used to lighten hair. Most major personal care product companies do internal testing to ensure that their creams, ointments, shampoos and treatments are safe, but despite these measures, Escobar Francisco said that the occurrence of skin allergies and other negative reactions is on the rise.
He said that one way to reduce the incidence of allergic reactions is to curb the use of chemical-laden products by substituting them for less aggressive, more earth- and body-friendly alternatives made from organic substances.
To that end, beauty care manufacturers of all stripes have been jumping on the all-natural bandwagon, offering customers products that are free or almost free of synthetic chemicals.
In the last 10 years, more than 1,200 new organic beauty and personal care products have been introduced in the Mexican marketplace.
But just because a product proclaims itself “natural” does not necessarily mean it doesn’t contain potentially irritating chemicals.
Since there are no official regulations to define “natural” beauty aids, any manufacturers can label their products “organic” or
“natural,” even if they contain synthetic chemicals.
“Your best bet is to keep with established, well recognized companies which take safety and disclosure seriously,” said Escobar Francisco.
“Make sure that the product has passed strict dermatological testing.”
In addition to checking out the listing of ingredients, Escobar Francisco said you should try to use brands that are well established and known for having tested their products for safety.
There are many international companies that specialize in natural products that are formulated to be particularly safe and gentle, including Clinique, Almay, Kiehls, Natura and The Body Shop.
Most of these lines are void of harsh synthetic chemical, so they tend to be suited to even the most delicate skin types.
“There is a certain degree of confidence in knowing that a product is natural and meets certain safety standards and testing,” Escobar Francisco said, “but in the end, there are no guarantees.”
Beautician Rubén Plata, director of Silver Scissors Salon, agreed that just because a product is free of synthetic chemicals does not necessarily mean that it will not cause allergies.
“There are hundreds of people who are allergic to tomatoes,” Plata pointed out, “so if a product contains these ingredients, it can provoke a negative reaction.”
Nonetheless, Escobar Francisco said organic products are about 60 percent less likely to cause negative reactions than those that contain synthetic chemicals.
“The best policy is to try out a product on a small patch of skin before using it,” he said.
“If you have a history of sensitive skin or allergic reactions to topical products, consult a dermatologist before using any new product. Outside of that, try to keep it natural.”
Royal Jelly Beauty
Guerlain has introduced three new products to its Abeille Royale beauty-care line: a day cream, an extra-rich day cream and a night cream. Used in conjunction with Guerlain’s Abeille Royale face-treatment oil and Abeille Royale serum, these products can dramatically halt and reverse signs of aging through instantly and lastingly transforming the skin’s appearance,
Honey, which is the core ingredient of all Abeille Royale products, has long been known as one of the world’s most effective natural healing substances. Guerlain uses only pure organic honey and royal jelly extracted from its protected Ouessant Island black bee refuge. Research has shown that honey and honey-based products stimulate the key mechanisms in the healing process. The new Abeille Royale products combine the continuous repairing qualities of honey to correct visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines with a variety of hyaluronic acids to help smooth and revitalize the surface of the skin for a glowing, radiant complexion.
Palmer’s, the ultra-affordable U.S.-based skincare brand that won over consumers with its cocoa-based beauty products and stretch-mark oils, has now introduced a new line of hand creams, body creams, shampoos, conditioners and hair masks based on pure sustainably and ethically sourced coconut oils. Available in supermarkets and other self-service stores starting in August, the line, enriched with vitamin E, helps replenish moisture to dry and damaged skin and hair. Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula products also contain Tahitian monoi to hydrate and pamper and tiare flower petal essence to give hair incredible shine. Rich almond oil (to soothe sensitive skin) and Moroccan argan oil (to increase hair brilliance and gloss) are also added to some of the products.
Dior’s new HydraLife Moisturizing Agua-Gel Immediate Beauty Water BB balm is a non-oily skin tint with a broad spectrum SPF 30 to protect and nourish sensitive skin. For the first time at Dior, HydraLife has created a new generation of water-based beauty treatments, combining the moisturizing power of mallow from the Dior gardens (known for its plumping and hydrating powers) with a natural-origin colorant that is gentle on skin. Suitable for all skin types, Moisturizing Agua-Gel Immediate Beauty’s evanescent texture adorns the complexion with an exquisite natural veil of soft color in a soft satin finish based on the freshness of the water, delivering a feeling of intense comfort. The skin is gently hydrated while also sheltered from UV aggressors.
Planning a wedding in the near future? The Wedlist is a new one-stop-shopping destination for all your nuptial needs, from flowers and caterers to musicians and photographers for the well-heeled bride-to-be. The two-day connubial fair, which will be held at the Blend disco in Lomas de Chapultepec on Sept. 9 and 10, will also include an array of wedding gowns, bride maid’s dresses and tuxedos for the grooms. The Wedlist is geared to an upscale market and will showcase only high-end providers. The first Wedlist nuptial expo in Mexico was held last year and had about 40 companies represented, but this year the fair has been expanded to include nearly 80 brands and providers.