Beauty is a cruel mistress.


           I personally believe that hygiene is a must. But what I am learning new is quite shocking that the very products intended to keep us clean can also cause us great harm. My body work log is quite simple. I tend to shower every day at least once and just use the products that are necessary such as body soap, shampoo, face wash, toothpaste, lotion, mouthwash, shaving gel and aftershave. Given the fact that I am male, it is a great relief because women have a complete different set of cosmetics that they use often such as make-up, lip stick, nail polish and so on. But I do think it is a burden on women in this patriarchal society that they need to always look good and use these cosmetic products which exposes them to a lot of harmful chemicals for longer periods of time. Also the time spent by women on body works is huge compared to men. Coming from a completely different culture, I believe there are some products that are universal. Also as globalization picks up pace, all cosmetic products are becoming universal and all the cultures of the world are merging into one culture that seems to be very Westernized. But the fact that shocks me is that these cosmetic products are harmful for our health. As a Business and Economics double major, I know very well that the cosmetics industry is one of the most profitable industries in the globe with few companies such as L’Oreal and Proctor and Gamble bringing in millions of dollars of profit each year. I personally believe that given the fact that they are earning profits at the cost of their customers’ health, they should ban all chemicals that are harmful for humans and the environment. The government needs to play a big role in regulating this industry and protect the health of consumers. Consumers have the ultimate power and they need to look through the marketing cloud of the companies and boycott products that have harmful products in them.

Time Date Product type Product name Product name
5:32pm Tuesday Hygiene Shampoo Pentene Natural Essence
5:35pm Tuesday Hygiene Body soap Body essence Tea Tree Oil
5:40pm Tuesday Hygiene Lotion Jergens Original Cherry almond moisterizer
5:42pm Tuesday Hygiene Chapstick Chapstick cherry classic
1:01pm Wednesday Hygiene Toothpaste Aquafresh Sensitive Maximum strength
1:05pm Wednesday Hygiene Face scrub Clean & Clear blackhead eraser scrub
1:07pm Wednesday Hygiene Face wash Clearasil Daily Face Wash
1:09pm Wednesday Hygiene Mouthwash Cool Mint Listerine Antiseptic
8:08pm Wednesday Hygiene Body soap Body essence Tea Tree oil
8:12pm Wednesday Hygiene Shampoo Head & shoulders green apple 2 in 1
8:20pm Wednesday Hygiene Lotion Jergens Original Cherry almond moisterizer
8:22pm Wednesday Hygiene Body spray Axe Essence
8:25pm Wednesday Hygiene Chapstick Chapstick cherry classic
12:30pm Thursday Hygiene Toothpaste Aquafresh Sensitive Maximum strength
12:35pm Thursday Hygiene Face scrub Clean & Clear blackhead eraser scrub
12:37pm Thursday Hygiene Face wash Clearasil Daily Face Wash
12:40pm Thursday Hygiene Mouthwash Cool Mint Listerine Antiseptic
12:45pm Thursday Hygiene Body spray Axe Essence
8:30pm Thursday Hygiene Body soap Body essence Tea Tree oil
8:35pm Thursday Hygiene Shampoo Head & shoulders green apple 2 in 1
8:45pm Thursday Hygiene Lotion Jergens Original Cherry almond moisterizer

The product I am focusing on is Clearasil Oil Free Daily Face wash. Clearasil was invented by Ivan Combe in 1950 in the United States to treat acne. In 1961 it was bought by Richardson-Vicks and in 1985 was purchased by Proctor and Gamble. Very recently in 2006, Clearasil was acquired by the massive British corporation Reckitt Benckiser.

I chose this product because I particularly like this product. Growing up as a teenager, I did not like acne at all and thus Clearasil came to the rescue. Not only did it get rid of acne, it also leaves my skin quite soft with a bright complexion every time I use it. But the cosmetics database of Environmental Working Group had some disturbing information for me.  Overall the product was rated 2/10 which was good news since a lower score meant that the product was safe but the problem was one ingredient in particular “Triclosan” which individually has a score of 7/10 and is a known endocrine disruptor with organ system toxicity and is persistent and bio accumulative. The next ingredient that is alarming is “Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate” which can be absorbed through the skin. All the rest of the ingredients such as Glycerin, Potassium Myristate, Potassium Stearate, Potassium Palmitate,  Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid,  Palmitic Acid,  Potassium Laurate,  Lauric Acid,  Polyquaternium-10, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice and water each got either 1 out of 10 with Potassium Palmitate getting 2/10 with others receiving 0/10. Overall I think the product is safe with only two ingredients that are considered harmful which are Triclosan and Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate. But given the fact I only apply the product on my face for less than 30 seconds and wash it off with water I think my exposure to the product is quite small.

But after double checking the product ingredients and checking the GoodGuide website, I found out that Clearasil has stopped using “Triclosan” in its product and the cosmetics database at Environmental working group needs updating. According to the GoodGuide website, two ingredients pose particular threats which are “Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate which has been banned in Japan and “Potassium hydroxide” which has been banned in the European Union. Potassium hydroxide has been known to cause skin or organ toxicity. The fact that these two products are banned in Japan and European Union shows that weak regulation on the behalf of the U.S. government is to blame. Overall Clearasil got 6.0/10 for Health, 6.1/10 for Environment and 5.4/10 for Society according to the website. Clearasil is manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser in the USA. According to Good Guide, Reckitt Benckiser has water, energy and resource efficiency targets giving it high scores in the environmental arena. Reckitt Benckiser has also implemented the Carbon 20 program promising to reduce its carbon footprint by 20% by 2020. Reckitt Benckiser is also ISO 14000 certified which is Environmental Management Certification and is included in a Sustainability Index with life cycle assessment policies and also uses environmental criteria to select suppliers. So overall, Reckitt Benckiser has under took a lot of environmental initiatives with a campaign to stop using harmful products which may be the reason they stopped using Triclosan after they acquired Clearasil in 2006. For social policies, the company has “Good Citizen” Targets with a lot of initiatives for workers safety and health with Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OH SAS 18001).

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