Afterglow Cosmetics lashes out over ingredients regulation

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cosmetics Us

US-based naturals player Alferglow Cosmetics has spoken out against
the lack of regulation in the US cosmetics market. The company
claims that nearly 90 per cent of the more than 10,000 ingredients
used in cosmetics products have not been evaluated by government

Afterglow refers to evidence from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which says that over 900 chemicals commonly available in cosmetics contain toxic substances that are potentially dangerous to health.

Likewise, the company also points to research indicating that of the 20,000 off-the-shelf cosmetic products currently for sale in the US, over 80 per cent are said to contain one or more ingredients that have caused 'adverse' reactions in humans or animals in the past.

The company is tapping into a consumer drive for natural cosmetic products that is being driven by fears over a lack of regulation in the market for chemical- or synthetic-based products, together with an increased interest in the perceived safety of natural-based products.

This trend is having a big effect on spending patterns. While the cosmetics and toiletries sectors is expected to grow by around 1 per cent a year through 2009, Euromonitor draws on figures from TNS Media Intelligence/CRM, which predict that the annual growth rate for natural and organic skin care, hair care and color cosmetics markets in the US to be around 9 per cent between 2003 and 2008, increasing in value from $3.9 billion to $5.8 billion.

"Most of the large cosmetic and personal-care companies will tell you not to worry. They agree that there are many chemicals in their products, but say that the quantities are small and will not affect you,"​ said an Aflterglow spokesperson.

However, the company refers to this as a 'sugar coated public relations response', referring to the fact that medical science has proven that exposure to small amounts of these chemicals over a time can often lead to consequences.

The company refers specifically to trans-dermal patches, often used to help individuals give up smoking. Although only very small amounts of drug are used in such patches, they nevertheless prove to be a highly effective delivery vehicle.

Given the effectiveness of such patches and the fact that still little is known about the effects of the petroleum- and synthetic-based cosmetic and petroleium products when rubbed onto the skin and hair, Afterglow believes this leaves room for concern.

Scientific evidence has pointed to the fact that many of these chemicals contain toxins that effect reproduction, are carcinogenic or are severe allergens. Afterglow points out the irony that many individuals use personal care products to address skin issues, when in fact they can actually cause problems.

Many of the leading personal care players say that comprehensive research and development programs ensure the safety of all personal care ingredients and formulations and stand by their claims that the levels of toxins are so small it is almost impossible for them to have any bearing on human health.

Undoubtedly both camps are set to fight a long battle.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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