Cosmetics are a vast category of beauty and health products which are employed to treat the skin and/or used simply to enhance or modify the appearance of a person. The term cosmetic is usually used in a non-scientific sense to describe any product that improves the appearance of the skin, hair or nails. Cosmetics in the scientific world is usually defined as materials, goods or substances intended to improve the function of a human body. Cosmetics in this broad sense include: cleansing agents, moisturizers, meal substitutes, food additives, perfumes, makeup, sunscreens, moisturizers, and oral or injected medications.
While many of the items in this broad category of beauty products have been around for hundreds of years, newer beauty products such as shea butter continue to emerge and gain popularity. Shea butter is a natural emollient that provides moisture to the skin while also providing therapeutic properties. It has become an increasingly popular beauty product and can be found in many products today. Some beauty products contain it in addition to other natural ingredients, such as vitamin E.
Many consumers may not realize that one of the most important definitions of cosmetics is that they are not medicines or drugs. Many people assume that beauty products are actually drugs, which is not true. The only way that a product would qualify as a drug is if it was manufactured with pharmaceutical intent and is approved by the FDA. Natural and herbal cosmetics, on the other hand, cannot be patented, and so the only way they could gain FDA approval would be to use official brand names when advertising or promoting them.
The reason that cosmetics are not considered drugs is due to the fact that cosmetics and their ingredients are considering a dietary supplement by the FDA. While cosmetics and beauty products do meet the definition of cosmetics, they are not designed to treat, cure, prevent or reduce disease. In order to qualify as a dietary supplement, the cosmetics must contain “at least one” of the natural ingredients listed in the cosmetics, including mineral oil, waxes, essential oils, enzymes, vitamins, botanicals, starchy herbs, and amino acids. Because the majority of these ingredients are naturally occurring, they provide significant health benefits. These natural ingredients include antioxidants, antiseptics, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory agents, antimicrobial agents, and nutriments.
Common beauty products like moisturizers, sunscreens and makeup include many chemical additives. Some common chemicals found in beauty products include parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, SLS, sodium laureth sulfate and petroleum derivatives like paraffin, liquid paraffin, and paraffin wax. These chemicals have been linked to various cancers and are considered unsafe for long-term use.
Most consumers purchase cleansing and/or beautifying beauty products at local department stores. For the best shopping experience, look for online retailers. The beauty industry is an ever-changing industry; therefore, many manufacturers are continually introducing new products. Look for online distributors who sell cleansing, toning, and moisturizing beauty products at discount prices.