Body-Care - Components, Methods, Purpose, And Considerations

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Body care is the practice of looking after one's skin, hair, nails, and mouth for purposes of improving health and hygiene, and creating a positive body image.


Body Care

Body Care is the practice of looking after the body externally to cultivate health and hygiene, and a positive body image

Body care is the practice of looking after one's skin, hair, nails, and mouth for purposes of improving health and hygiene, and creating a positive body image.

Health is a difficult state to define, but relates to the self-defined perception of an individual's physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Body care contributes to this through practices such as; cleansing, moisturizing, protection from the ultra violet rays of the sun, good nutrition and oral hygiene.

Body image on the other hand, is a person's perception of the aesthetics or attractiveness of their own body. Body care contributes to a positive body image through practices that enhance the appearance of; skin (e.g. cosmetics or exfoliation), hair (e.g. hair conditioning), nails (e.g. nail varnishing), and mouth (e.g. teeth whitening).

The importance of health for skin, hair, nails and mouth, and a positive body image is unequivocal. Your body's contact with the outside world is skin, hair, nails, and mouth by way of smiling and communication. The health and appearance of these body areas is not only important from a biological stand point but also, psychological due to the feedback they generate from one's surroundings.


Skin care

Hair care

Nail care

Mouth care


Skin Care:

Skin care is the range of practices that support skin health, enhance its appearance and relieve skin conditions.

Skin care practices that cater for skin health can include; nutrition, hygiene, avoidance of excessive sun exposure and appropriate use of emollients.

Practices that enhance appearance include the use of exfoliation, cosmetics, and the use of clinical treatments like botulinum, fillers, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, peels, retinol therapy etc.

Skin care practices are conducted basing on skin type for effectiveness and avoidance of causing negative attributes to the skin. Skin types are mainly classed as oily, normal, dry, and sensitive.

Hair Care:

Hair care is an overall term for hygiene and cosmetology involving the hair which grows from the human scalp, and to a lesser extent facial, pubic and other body hair.

Hair care routines differ according to an individual's taste and physical characteristics of one's hair. Hair may be colored, trimmed, shaved, plucked, or otherwise removed with treatments such as waxing, sugaring, and threading.

Hair care services are offered in salons, barbershops, and day spas, and products are available commercially for home use. Laser hair removal and electrolysis are also available, though these are provided by licensed professionals in medical offices or specialty spas.

Nail Care:

Nail care involves the hygiene, health, and aesthetic enhancement of finger and toe nails. Nail care involving finger nails is called manicure and that of toe nails, pedicure. Nail care can be performed at home by oneself using basic methods like clipping and filing or at a salon or spa by a professional.

Mouth Care:

Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping one's mouth clean and free of disease and other problems (e.g. bad breath) by regular brushing and cleaning between the teeth. It is important that oral hygiene be carried out on a regular basis to enable prevention of dental disease.

The most common types of dental disease are tooth decay (cavities, dental caries) and gum diseases, including gingivitis, and periodontitis.

Regular brushing consists of brushing twice a day: after breakfast and before going to bed. Cleaning between the teeth is called interdental cleaning and is as important as tooth brushing. This is because a toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth and therefore only cleans 50% of the surfaces.

There are various tools that can be used to clean between the teeth, including floss, flossettes, and interdental brushes. It is up to each individual to choose which tool he or she prefers to use.



Cleansers for facial cleansing

Shower gels for whole body washing

Shampoos for hair washing

Toothpaste for dental hygiene


Moisturizers increase skin hydration by reducing evaporation or attracting moisture


Facials are a family of skin care treatments for the face


Body scrubs are one of various other methods of exfoliating the skin. Other methods include chemical peels, microdermabrasion etc.


Deodorants are applied to the body to prevent body odor but also to give a beautiful scent


Sunscreen is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation to help protect against sunburn

Professional Treatments

  • Teeth

Professional teeth cleaning

  • Acne

A variety of topical assortments are available for acne treatment as well as advanced skin peeling and laser resurfacing for acne scars

  • Hair

Laser hair removal

  • Rejuvenation

Injectable fillers

Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that uses fine crystals and a vacuum to remove dead skin cells on the face

Collagen induction therapy (CIT) also known as micro-needling RF or skin needling is a cosmetic procedure that involves repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny, sterile needles (micro-needling the skin)

  • Dermatology

Birthmark removal

Unven skin tone can be treated using resurfacing techniques like CO2RE or fractional CO2 resurfacing laser

Fine line and wrinkles can be reduced or removed using methods like fraxel laser treatments

Leg thread vein can be removed using laser treatment or Sclerotherapy

Milia removal

Rosacea treatment




Various methods are deployed in the practice of body care including; cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliation, sunscreen, shaving, deodorant, and various professional treatments.


It involves the use of cleansers, shower gels or bar soaps and scrubbers for skin cleansing and general body wash including finger and toe nails. Shampoos are used for hair cleansing. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, interdental brushes, and mouthwash liquids for oral hygiene.

  • Cleanser:

    A cleanser is a facial care product that is used to remove make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other types of pollutants from the skin of the face. This helps to unclog pores and prevent skin conditions such as acne. A cleanser can be used as part of a skin care regimen together with a toner and moisturizer.

    Using a cleanser to remove dirt is considered to be a better alternative to bar soap or another form of skin cleanser not specifically formulated for the face.

  • Shower Gel:

    A shower gel (also shower cream or body wash) is a liquid product used for cleaning the body. Shower gel is an emulsion of water and detergent base, usually with added fragrance, used as a skin cleansing agent in the shower or bath.

    Some shower gels and soaps also contain disinfectants enabling them to not only lift dirt, oils, and dead skin cells off the skin to be rinsed off, but also kill germs and bacteria that may be on the skin. The disinfectant method is especially effective as a deterrent for skin infections.

    Shower gels and soaps can also contain moisturizing ingredients that enable them to also work as moisturizers. They also can contain nutrients like vitamin e which effectively converts them into topical nourishing agents.

  • Shampoo:

    Shampoo is a hair care product, typically in the form of a viscous liquid that is used for cleaning hair. Less commonly, shampoo is available in bar form, like a bar of soap. Shampoo is used by applying it to wet hair, massaging the product into the hair, and then rinsing it out. Some users may follow a shampooing with the use of hair conditioner.

    The goal of using shampoo is to remove the unwanted build-up in the hair without stripping out so much sebum as to make hair unmanageable. Shampoo is generally made by combining a surfactant, most often sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, with a co-surfactant, most often cocamidopropyl betaine in water.

    Specialty shampoos are available for people with dandruff, color-treated hair, gluten or wheat allergies, an interest in using an "all-natural", "organic", "botanical" or "plant-derived" product, and infants and young children ("baby shampoo" is less irritating).

  • Toothpaste:

    Toothpaste, together with a toothbrush are used to maintain the aesthetics and health of teeth. Toothpastes are derived from a variety of components, the three main ones being abrasives, fluoride, and detergents. In addition to these three main components, toothpastes are 20–42% water. Some toothpastes also contain teeth whitening ingredients like soda bicarbonate.

    Toothbrushes are available with different bristle textures, sizes, and forms. Most dentists recommend using a soft toothbrush since hard bristled toothbrushes can damage tooth enamel and irritate the gums.


Moisturizers or emollients are complex mixtures of chemical agents (often occlusives help hold water in the skin after application, humectants attract moisture and emollients help smooth the skin) specially designed to make the external layers of the skin (epidermis) softer and more pliable.

Moisturizers increase the skin's hydration (water content) by reducing evaporation. Naturally occurring skin lipids and sterols, as well as artificial or natural oils, humectants, emollients, lubricants, etc., may be part of the composition of commercial skin moisturizers. They usually are available as commercial products for cosmetic and therapeutic uses, but can also be made at home using common pharmacy ingredients.


A facial is a family of skin care treatments for the face, including; steam, exfoliation, extraction, creams, lotions, facial masks, peels, and massage. They can be performed at home, or in beauty salons, but they are also a common spa treatment. They are used for general skin health as well as for specific skin conditions. Types of facials include European facial, LED light therapy facials, and mini-facials.


Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin's outermost surface. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all facials, during microdermabrasion or chemical peels. Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical or chemical means.


A deodorant is a substance applied to the body to prevent body odor caused by the bacterial breakdown of perspiration in armpits, feet, and other areas of the body. A subgroup of deodorants, antiperspirants, affect odor as well as prevent sweating by affecting sweat glands.

Antiperspirants are typically applied to the underarms, while deodorants may also be used on feet and other areas in the form of body sprays. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration classifies and regulates most deodorants as cosmetics, but classifies antiperspirants as over-the-counter drugs.


Sunscreen, also known as sunblock and suntan lotion, is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation and thus helps protect against sunburn. Diligent use of sunscreen can also slow or temporarily prevent the development of wrinkles, moles and sagging skin.

Depending on the mode of action, sunscreens can be classified into physical sunscreens (i.e., those that reflect the sunlight) or chemical sunscreens (i.e., those that absorb the UV light).

Sunscreens are commonly rated and labeled with a sun protection factor (SPF) that measures the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. For example, "SPF 15" means that 1/15th of the burning radiation reaches the skin through the recommended thickness of sunscreen. Other rating systems indicate the degree of protection from non-burning UVA radiation.


Shaving is the removal of facial or bodily hair, by using a razor. Shaving can be done with a straight razor or safety razor (called 'manual shaving' or 'wet shaving') or an electric razor (called 'dry shaving') or beard trimmer.

An aftershave lotion or balm may be used after shaving especially with a safety razor. Aftershave may contain an antiseptic agent such as isopropyl alcohol, both to prevent infection from cuts and to act as an astringent to reduce skin irritation, a perfume, and a moisturizer to soften the facial skin.

Professional treatments:

Professional treatments for dental hygiene, hair care, nails and advanced skin conditions can also be sought from dentists, beauticians, skin clinics, and dermatologists. These include some of the following;

    • Teeth:

    • Professional teeth cleaning:

      Teeth cleaning (also known as prophylaxis, literally a preventive treatment of a disease) is a procedure for the removal of tartar (mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine tooth brushing. It is often done by a dental hygienist. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.

    • Acne treatments:

    • Acne Scar Treatment:

      If you are suffering from live acne, you need to wait until your acne is under control before seeking acne scar treatment. Microdermabrasion which uses tiny crystals to physically remove the top layer of skin cells, is particularly good for treating acne scars. Advanced skin peeling and laser resurfacing are some of the other methods that can be used to treat acne scars.

    • Acne Treatment:

      Although there is no cure for acne, there are a number of specialized treatments available to help significantly reduce it. Prescription medications can be used to treat acne as well as a variety of other topical assortments.

      It is important that you receive the correct diagnosis for your very individual acne so as to receive the tailored treatment to treat and control it.

    • Hair:

    • Hair Transplant Surgery:

      A hair transplant is a procedure to move hair from an area unaffected by hair loss to an area of thinning or baldness.

      It is suitable for people with androgenetic alopecia (male- and female-pattern baldness) or scarring resulting from injury or burns. It is not usually appropriate for other types of hair loss, such as alopecia areata.

    • Laser Hair Removal:

      Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that uses a powerful laser or 'intense pulsed light' (IPL) to remove unwanted hair. This light source heats and destroys hair follicles in the skin, which disrupts hair growth. Common areas to treat are the face, legs, arms, underarms and bikini line.

    • Rejuvenation:

    • Anti-Ageing Injections:

      Anti-Wrinkle injections (also known as BOTOX®) is a simple, safe and effective way to improve fine lines and deep wrinkles in the upper part of the face. They work to relax facial muscles making lines and wrinkles, such as crow's feet and frown lines, less obvious.

    • Injectable filler:

      Injectable filler (injectable cosmetic filler, injectable facial filler) is a soft tissue filler injected into the skin to help fill in facial wrinkles, restoring a smoother appearance. Most of these wrinkle fillers are temporary because they are eventually absorbed by the body. Some people may need more than one injection to achieve the wrinkle-smoothing effect. The effect lasts for about six months or longer. Successful results depend on health of the skin, skill of the health care provider, type of filler used.

      Dermal fillers are used to fill in the area under the skin. Some fillers are natural and some are synthetic, but they all work to improve the appearance of aging skin in the following ways: Filling in wrinkles, fine lines and deep creases; Improving other imperfections like scars; Filling out thin or wrinkled lips; Plumping up cheeks; Contouring the jaw line and other areas of the face.

    • Hydra-Dermabrasion:

      Hydra-dermabrasion is a dermatological procedure which combines simultaneous dermal infusion of medicinal products and crystal-free exfoliation. Hydra-dermabrasion's mechanism of actions includes: (a) mechanical stimulation activates the basal layer, and (b) thickening and smoothing the epidermis. Fibroblast activity results in extracellular matrix deposition and dermal thickening. Antioxidants introduced through the procedure hydrate and decrease inflammation in the skin, reversing photo damage, while protecting lipid membranes, collagen fibers, and enzyme systems.

    • Microdermabrasion:

      Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that uses fine crystals and a vacuum to remove dead skin cells on the face. The aim is to reduce the effect of fine lines and minor skin blemishes. It works on all skin types and shouldn't cause any skin color changes or scarring.

    • Micro-needling:

      Collagen induction therapy (CIT) also known as micro-needling RF or skin needling is a cosmetic procedure that involves repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny, sterile needles (micro-needling the skin). CIT should be separated from other contexts in which micro-needling devices are used on the skin, e.g. transdermal drug delivery, vaccination.

    • Rejuvenation:

      Skin rejuvenation is designed to help reduce the appearance of a number of specific skin problems. If you’re concerned about sun damage, age pigmentation, acne, or fine lines and wrinkles, this treatment could help restore the condition of your skin.

    • Thread Lifts:

      A thread lift is a minimally invasive, rejuvenating treatment that uses specialized surgical threads to lift sagging skin, giving a tighter, more youthful appearance.

    • Skin Peels:

      A chemical peel is a technique used to improve and smooth the texture of the skin. Facial skin is mostly treated, and scarring can be improved. Chemical peels are intended to remove the outermost layers of the skin.

    • Dermatology:

    • Birthmark Removal:

      A birthmark is a congenital, benign irregularity on the skin which is present at birth or appears shortly after birth, usually in the first month. They can occur anywhere on the skin. Birthmarks are caused by overgrowth of blood vessels, melanocytes, smooth muscle, fat, fibroblasts, or keratinocytes.

    • CO2RE:

      CO2RE or fractional CO2 resurfacing laser is a high-tech laser ideal for scar revision, skin resurfacing, uneven skin tone and much more. It has especially proven to be extremely effective in treating pigmentation and skin laxity.

    • Ear-fold Treatment:

      Ear-fold ® is a minimally invasive procedure that corrects prominent ears, without the need for surgery. Ear-fold ® is suitable for adults and children aged seven or above.

    • Facial Thread Veins:

      Facial thread veins are common and are caused by genetics, too much alcohol, acne, rosacea and over-exposure to the sun.

      Facial thread veins are removed with the use of a laser. Laser light is directed at the unwanted veins, causing them to heat up extremely quickly; they then break down and collapse in on themselves. The process is called photothermolysis.

    • Fraxel:

      Fraxel laser treatments are intended to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, skin pigmentation, sun damage, acne, stretch marks, and—in some cases—the pre-cancerous skin condition actinic keratosis (AK).

    • Hyperhidrosis:

      Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating is common and can affect the whole body or just certain areas. Sometimes it gets better with age but there are things you can do and treatments that can help.

    • Laser Resurfacing:

      Laser resurfacing, or laser peel, lasabrasion or laser vaporization, is a method of skin rejuvenation using a wand-like laser device. Laser resurfacing is a treatment to reduce facial wrinkles and skin irregularities, such as blemishes or acne scars.

      Laser resurfacing offers more control in penetrating the depth of the skin, thus allowing precision and safety. The technique directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin, precisely removing skin layer by layer.

    • Leg Thread Veins:

      There are two effective treatment options for Leg Thread Veins. One is laser treatment that breaks down unwanted veins using brief pulses of laser light. The light heats up the vein very quickly causing them to collapse in on themselves. The process is called photothermolysis.

      The other is Sclerotherapy, which involves the injection of a medical solution into the vein that results in microscopic damage to the cells, causing the vein to close, then disperse.

      Laser Treatment is best for smaller Thread Veins, whereas Sclerotherapy is often used for larger Thread Veins and also for people with darker skin tones, for whom laser treatments are not advised.

    • Milia Removal:

      A milium (plural milia), also called a milk spot or an oil seed, is a clog of the eccrine sweat gland. It is a keratin-filled cyst that can appear just under the epidermis or on the roof of the mouth.

    • Minor Skin Procedures:

      Minor skin procedures can include the excision of benign moles, cysts and other skin lesions to remove these blemishes.

    • Mole Removal:

      Moles are small patches on the skin that form due to collections of cells called melanocytes, which produce the color (pigment) in your skin.

    • Rosacea Treatment:

      Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that typically affects the face. It results in redness, pimples, swelling, and small and superficial dilated blood vessels. Often the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin are most involved.

    • Skin Tag Removal:

      A skin tag is a small, soft, benign skin growth, often on a stalk. Skin tags tend to occur on the eyelids, neck, armpits, groin folds, and under breasts.

    • Varicose Vein Removal:

      Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere.

    • Wart Verruca Removal:

      Warts are skin growths that are usually fairly small and rough, and are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV causes an excess amount of keratin that stimulates rapid growth of cells on the skin's outer layer. Warts often appear on the fingers, near the fingernails, or on the hands.

      Warts don't cause you any harm but some people find them itchy, painful or embarrassing. Verrucas are more likely to be painful – like standing on a needle.

    • Pedicure:

      A pedicure is a cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails, analogous to a manicure. Pedicures are done for cosmetic, therapeutic purposes. They are popular throughout the world, and especially among women.

      Pedicures include care not only for the toenails; dead skin cells are rubbed off the bottom of the feet using a rough stone (often a pumice stone). Skin care is often provided up to the knee, including granular exfoliation, moisturizing, and massage.

    • Manicure:

      A manicure is a cosmetic beauty treatment for the fingernails and hands performed at home or in a nail salon. A manicure consists of filing and shaping the free edge, pushing and clipping (with a cuticle pusher and cuticle nippers) any nonliving tissue (but limited to the cuticle and hangnails), treatments with various liquids, massage of the hand, and the application of fingernail polish.


Health and hygiene




Health hygiene:

One of the purposes of body care is to bring about bodily health and hygiene through cleanliness. Motivations for personal hygiene practice include reduction of personal illness, healing from personal illness, optimal health and sense of well-being, social appeal and prevention of spread of illness to others.


Being presentable in a social setting has a lot of connotations to physical attractiveness. Physical attractiveness is the degree to which a person's physical appearance is considered aesthetically pleasing.

Body care practices are normally deployed by individuals to make them more presentable in a social setting by enhancing their physical attractiveness.


The concept of self-confidence is commonly used as self-assurance in one's personal worth in regards to appeal, judgment, ability, power, etc. Body care practices especially those that enhance appearance are mostly deployed primarily for purposes of cultivating or boosting self-confidence.

Psychological wellbeing:

Poor body image can cause resentment and dissatisfaction in a social setting which can lead to undesirable psychological effects. The television sitcom Ugly Betty portrays the life of a girl faced with hardships due to society's unwelcoming attitudes toward those they deem unattractive.

Meanwhile it's not advisable to use drastic measures to change your body image, you can enhance it through body care practices.


  • BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole)

The European Union considers BHA unsafe in fragrance. The State of California, has listed BHA as a carcinogen.

  • Boric acid and Sodium borate:

Borum soap

  • Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients

Coal tar

  • Formaldehyde:

Some hair straighteners, are based on formaldehyde’s hair-stiffening action

  • Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is used for skin bleaching but can cause exogenous ochronosis and is a potential carcinogen

  • Parabens

Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives widely used in personal care products. They also lead to increased skin aging due to reaction with UVB

  • Phthalates

Personal-care items containing phthalates include perfume, eye shadow, moisturizer, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray

  • Resorcinol

Resorcinol is used topically as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and anti-dandruff agent in shampoo

  • Triclosan Triclocarban:

Antimicrobial ingredient in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban)


There are thousands of chemicals used in body care products, many of which get absorbed by the body. Many of these synthetic chemicals can be irritants, endocrine disrupters and some are carcinogenic. Care should be taken when using personal care products. Below are a few of the common ones:

BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole):

The U.S. National Institutes of Health report that BHA is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. When examining human population statistics, the usual low intake levels of BHA show no significant association with an increased risk of cancer. The State of California, has, however, listed it as a carcinogen. The European Union considers it unsafe in fragrance.

Boric acid and Sodium borate:

Long-term exposure to boric acid may be of more concern, causing kidney damage and eventually kidney failure (see links below). Although it does not appear to be carcinogenic, studies in dogs have reported testicular atrophy after exposure to 32 mg/kg bw/day for 90 days. This level is far lower than the LD50.

Both the European Union and Canada restrict these ingredients in body care products made for children under three years of age and require that products containing these ingredients be labeled as not appropriate for broken or damaged skin. No similar safety standards are in place in the United States. The cosmetic industry’s own safety panel states that these chemicals are unsafe for infant or damaged skin, because they can absorb readily into the body.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (including Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine):

The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists coal tars as Group 1 carcinogens, meaning they directly cause cancer. Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the state of California list coal tars as known human carcinogens.

It is believed that their metabolites bind to DNA, damaging it. Long-term skin exposure to these compounds can produce "tar warts", which can progress to squamous cell carcinoma.


Formaldehyde, also an asthmagen, neurotoxicant and developmental toxicant, was once an ingredient into many personal care products as antiseptic. This use has declined but some products still contain this substance. An example, some hair straighteners, are based on formaldehyde’s hair-stiffening action.

In view of its widespread use, toxicity, and volatility, formaldehyde poses a significant danger to human health. In 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen".

Formaldehyde releasers – Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15:

Formaldehyde releasers are cosmetics preservatives that decompose to form formaldehyde to kill bacteria growing in products. The preservatives and the formaldehyde they generate can trigger allergic skin reactions. Also, Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, neurotoxicant, and asthmagen. Releasers are widely used in personal care products like shampoo and cosmetics.


Hydroquinone is used as a topical application in skin whitening to reduce the color of skin. Numerous studies have revealed that hydroquinone can cause exogenous ochronosis, a disfiguring disease in which blue-black pigments are deposited onto the skin.

In 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration revoked its previous approval of hydroquinone and proposed a ban on all over-the-counter preparations. The FDA stated that hydroquinone cannot be ruled out as a potential carcinogen.


It is used, along with other benzophenones, in sunscreens, hair sprays, and cosmetics because they help prevent potential damage from sunlight exposure. Oxybenzone however, is associated with allergic reactions triggered by sun exposure. In a study of 82 patients with photo-allergic contact dermatitis, over one quarter showed photo-allergic reactions to oxybenzone.

Also, when applied topically, oxybenzone penetrates human skin and gets absorbed by the body. In a 2008 study of participants ages 6 and up, oxybenzone was detected in 96.8% of urine samples. Humans can absorb anywhere from 0.4% to 8.7% of oxybenzone after one topical application of sunscreen, as measured in urine excretions. This number can increase after multiple applications over the same period of time.

Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens):

Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives widely used in personal care products. Studies have also indicated that methyl-paraben applied on the skin may react with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage.

The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) reiterated in 2013 that methyl-paraben and ethyl-paraben are safe at the maximum authorized concentrations (up to 0.4% for one ester or 0.8% when used in combination). The SCCS concluded that the use of butyl-paraben and propyl-paraben as preservatives in finished cosmetic products is safe to the consumer, as long as the sum of their individual concentrations does not exceed 0.19 %. Isopropyl-paraben, isobutyl-paraben, phenyl-paraben, benzyl-paraben and pentylparaben were banned by Commission Regulation (EU) No 358/2014.


Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid. They are used as gelling agents in many personal care products. Personal-care items containing phthalates include perfume, eye shadow, moisturizer, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray.

Several phthalates are "plausibly" endocrine disruptors. Authors of a 2006 study of boys with undescended testis hypothesized that exposure to a combination of phthalates and anti-androgenic pesticides may have contributed to that condition.

A scientific review in 2013 came to the conclusion that epidemiological and in vitro studies generally converge sufficiently to conclude that phthalate anti-androgenicity is plausible in adult men.


Resorcinol is used topically as an antiseptic and disinfectant, and is used 5 to 10% in ointments in the treatment of chronic skin diseases such as psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and eczema of a sub-acute character. It can be included as an anti-dandruff agent in shampoo or in sunscreen cosmetics. It is present in over-the-counter topical acne treatments at 2% or less concentration, and in prescription treatments at higher concentrations. It is also worked up in certain medicated soaps. In large doses, it is a poison, causing giddiness, deafness, salivation, sweating, and convulsions.

Triclosan Triclocarban:

Antimicrobial ingredient in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban). Because of potential health concerns spanning from antimicrobial resistance to endocrine disruption, triclosan has been designated as a "contaminant of emerging concern (CEC)", meaning it is under investigation for public health risk. Triclosan is considered safe by some but is under ongoing review by the FDA.

Triclocarban on the other hand, is an endocrine disruptor. It amplifies the bioactivity of testosterone and other androgens. This increased activity may have adverse implications for reproductive health. Triclocarban studies on rats exhibited increased size of the specimens' prostate glands. The amplification of sex hormones could promote the growth of breast and prostate cancer.

Triclocarban may also cause irritation of the lungs, eyes, and skin. Canada and Japan restrict the content of triclocarban in cosmetics.

Vitamin A compounds (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinol):

While Vitamin A is an essential nutrient, it is not necessarily safe for use on skin. Studies have shown that when vitamin A compounds are exposed to the sun, sunlight breaks them down to produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA, cause skin lesions and even tumors in lab animals. More still is that vitamin A compounds make the skin more sensitive to the UV rays of the sun.

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