Cosmetics are care substances applied for the purpose of cleansing, for keeping the skin healthy and mainly to enhance beauty. The application of skin care products is not new, it dates back to around 3000 B.C. when Cleopatra is said to have used milk for bathing purpose to keep her skin healthy and moisturized , isn’t it interesting? The ancient women used kohl for eyes and red iron oxides were used in lip tints. Now the cosmetics industry is one of the largest industry with its growing demand and use. Beauty is a feel good factor which everyone wants let it be men or women and therefore the need for cosmetics has never faded rather it is increasing.

Cosmetics are usually mixtures of chemical substances derived from natural sources and synthetic chemicals. A typical cosmetic product contains minimum of 15-50 ingredients. Although a large variety of chemicals are used but the key ingredients present in all the products include water, emulsifiers, preservatives, moisturizers, emollients, thickeners and colors.

  1. Water – All the beauty products consist of water as the key component. The water used in cosmetics should be very pure so that it is free from microbes. Usually distilled water is used for this purpose.
  2. Emulsifiers – These are mostly present in lotions and creams. They help in preventing the separation of two immiscible liquids like oil – water and provide texture to the product.
  3. Emollients – These are fats and oils. Animal fats used contain stearic and palmitic acids. They are used for their good spreading properties and are also low toxic. They do no readily oxidize in air. Petroleum based emollients includes petroleum jelly.
  4. Moisturizers – They are used to retain the water content of the skin especially during winters. Sucrose, glucose, sorbitol, glycerin and natural product such as aloe are used for as moisturizers.
  5. Thickeners – This includes addition of wax to a lotion to form a thick cream. Thickeners are usually polymers which swell like a gel under some conditions. Cellulose and carbapol are examples of thickeners.
  6. Colors – Pigments and dyes are used for bringing in color. Titanium dioxide is a white pigment which used along with other color pigments of iron oxides. Face powders contain inorganic oxides. Eyeshadows and lipstics contain mica in them.
  7. Preservatives – These are used to prevent microbial growth and contamination. Parabens and esters of parabenzoic acid are used as preservatives.

Beauty products are designed keeping in mind to reduce the risks of chemical on skin. But it is still wise to know about a product before buying it.


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