When you mention retinol or hyaluronic acid, almost all faces beam with know-how. However, there is another player in town you need to be aware of, Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS is something most people don’t think about when shopping for makeup. However, it’s a growing cause for concern.
PFAS are artificial chemicals used in industrial and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. They use these chemicals to manufacture nonstick pans, cleaning products, grease-resistant papers used in food packages, and even dental floss.
The University of Notre Dame conducted a study
to detect the presence of PFAS in cosmetics. The results are shocking. The Environmental Science & Technology Letters reports that about 50% of beauty products test positive for PFAS in the U.S and Canada.
But what exactly are PFAS, how do they affect you, and how can you avoid them?
What Are PFAS?
PFAS are chemical compounds incorporated into everyday beauty products and makeup to increase:
Precisely the characteristics we look for when choosing cosmetics. You might be paying a mighty price for that flawless, all-day fresh face look.
PFAS is a collective term for manufactured chemicals like GenX, PFOS, and PFOA.
According to the Notre Dame study, lipstick, mascara, and foundation from big brand names like Sephora contain PFAS. Waterproof and long-lasting makeup are the biggest culprits.
How Do PFAS Enter the Body
When you use makeup that contains PFAS, the chemical comes into contact with your tear ducts and mouth. They get absorbed into the body through mucous membranes then accumulate in your organs.
Thankfully, topical application has the most negligible effects. However, PFAS can end up in drinking water after washing off your skin.
What PFAS Do To Your Body
Although studies are still in the preliminary stages, exposure to PFAS is toxic. Scientists believe that the chemicals have side effects such as:
- Hormone disruption
- Decrease fertility
- Low infant birth weight
- Bring down your immunity
- Disruptive thyroid disease
- Increase risk of developing hypertension
- ncourage pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
The seriousness of this matter has even made it to Congress, as seen by the bill proposed by Republican Senator of Maine, Susan Collins, and Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's junior senator. The bill (if passed) will prompt the FDA to ban the intentional inclusion of PFAS in cosmetics.
However, because PFAS are so widely used in commercial and consumer items, there is little that individuals can do to reduce their exposure to them without government legislation.
Where Are PFAS Found?
Mainly on the ingredient list on items that you buy. In a different study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, nearly 200 products from 28 big name brands contain PFAS class chemicals.
These harmful chemicals may be present in the food we eat, drinking water, commercial household items, and even in the workplace. And now we see it in everyday-use goods like frizz-fighting shampoo, waterproof makeup, and long-lasting sunscreen.
The detrimental aspect lies in the fact that these compounds do not break down. They persist in the human body and environment forever. So the next time you hear of 'forever chemicals,' you know what it means.
How Do You Know If a Cosmetic Product Has PFAS?
The best way to establish if your Sephora concealer contains PFAS is through checking the product label. Since most companies in the United States and Canada are aware of the fight against forever chemicals, they may not mention the actual scientific name of the compounds.
According to David Andrews, chief scientist at EWG, look out for the term 'fluoro,' which might be embedded in a longer name such as perfluorodecalin.
Companies are obligated to list components that explain why PFAS marker toxins are detectable in cosmetics under current FDA rules. According to the survey, 88% of the items failed to disclose such information on their labels.
If you have reservations, check the brand's website for more information about the product. You can confirm by sending an inquiry or calling customer service.
The findings of laboratory tests cannot tell you if PFAS exposure is to blame for your health problem. Some of the potential health consequences of PFAS exposure, such as a spike in cholesterol, may be tested as part of your yearly physical.
It would be best if you did check-ups and screenings regularly. You can tell your doctor about any PFAS exposure you've had and any symptoms you're experiencing.
A comprehensive blood test may determine the quantity of PFAS in your blood. However, doctors and health departments do not routinely test for PFAS in the blood. On the other hand, test findings will not reveal how PFAS may damage your health now or in the future.
Talk with your health care practitioner if you want your or your family’s blood checked. You can also get advice on how to interpret the results of a blood test.
What To Do if You Get Exposed to PFAS
Exposure to PFAS compounds may lead to several health complications. The only way to be sure if you have PFAS exposure is via a blood test. The best thing you can do is discontinue using whatever is causing you harm.
Research is still inconclusive, and more studies are underway to determine a treatment for exposure to fluorinated pollutants in cosmetic products.
I know you're probably wondering how it is that big players like L'Oreal, Sephora, and CoverGirl allow such a harmful compound in their products. Well, it turns out some outdated federal regulations are governing the safety of cosmetics.
The Bottom Line
Although the United States has phased out PFAS in industries, this is just a small barrier. Buyers can import PFAS-infused consumer goods manufactured internationally.
The best you can do is steer clear of brands that use fluorinated compounds in their products. Go for safe products from rands such as Kiss Selfcare that don’t have PFAS.
Our Kiss Selfcare products don’t contain PFAS substances ever. We use safe ingredients to manufacture our products and keep up with research studies to ensure our products are safe for you.