Marketing and Comms
The Dose Makes the Poison:
Why We Must Read Cosmetics Labels

The controversial Free Trade Agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) being negotiated by the EU and the US gives the green light for the sale of over a thousand American cosmetics in Europe, the marketing of which is actually banned in the EU.

If nothing else, this should remind us of the importance of knowing what we’re buying: Ingredients such as parabens, mineral oils and other petroleum derivatives, silicones, SLS, SLES, ethanolamines, PEGs, perfumes and synthetic dyes are, in fact, toxic components used in cosmetics and industrial hygiene products.

If they are toxic, why are companies allowed to use them in these products? As Paracelsus said, "The dose makes the poison": The amounts of these ingredients used in cosmetics are considered "safe" by regulatory authorities. Interestingly, no study has yet to guarantee that these "safe" doses of these chemicals, to which we are exposed every day, do not cause any negative effects on the human body.

Regardless, there are fortunately more and more brands that are making a greater effort to remove toxic chemicals from their products (although at the same time, there are brands that advertise “natural” ingredients despite having the same chemistry).

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Out of all of these, L'Occitane was one of the first houses of cosmetics that, on its own initiative, greatly reduced the amount of parabens in its products when the compounds were linked to endocrine disruption. Also, its policy includes always choosing natural substances between two ingredients with the same function. Lush also stands out, with 60 percent chemical-free products, no SLS and SLES preservatives, and organic ingredients.

Moving towards a more natural cosmetic we find companies such as Amie, Yes to Carrots, Keims, Mamamio, Korres Apivita and Japanese Skin Inc, whose success is based on the purity of its components, completely free of parabens and perfumes.

Options exist, so it depends on us — the consumers: With a simple gesture such as reading a label, we can find out many things. By law, ingredients must be listed in order of high to low concentration, so paying attention to the composition of products before choosing which one to buy will help us make better choices.

If we really want to know what we are consuming and push our favorite brands to provide safer options, reading labels is no longer an option — it is an obligation.


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