Nourished Journal

The Forever Chemicals: What you need to know about PFAS in cosmetics

Apr 16, 2024

PFAS in Cosmetics
PFAS is widely used in conventional cosmetics because it's like the superhero of repelling grease, dirt, and water. Sounds amazing, right? Well, here's the catch: while it's perfect for keeping your mascara waterproof, it's not exactly a friendly ingredient for your everyday makeup routine. And it's not just hanging out in waterproof mascaras anymore; recent studies show it's also crashing the party in foundation, eye makeup,lipsticks and other cosmetics. Yikes!

Understanding PFAS: 'The forever chemicals'

So, what are these 'PFAS' anyway? PFAS is the short form for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of not-so-friendly chemicals that share some common (chemical) traits. You might have heard about PFAS warnings in your cookware, but these sneaky substances also find their way into all sorts of conventional cosmetic goodies.

Now, they've earned themselves quite the nickname: forever chemicals.
Unlike a lot of other compounds that break down over time, PFAS sticks around. And they are really there for the long run.They've got this ability to hang out in both the environment and the human body for ,what feels like, forever. And you know what that means? Yeah, it's got us a bit worried about their long-term impact on our health and the world around us too.

Why Incorporate PFAS in Cosmetics?

PFAS, derived from fluorine, has the ability to repel grease, dirt, and water. It's like they're the superheroes of the chemical world, making non-stick pans and waterproof mascaras possible. But, here's the kicker – using products with PFAS on the daily could bring some not-so-great health risks along for the ride..

The Risks of PFAS in Makeup

But how concerning are these risks, truly? Daily application of makeup and other cosmetics containing PFAS means direct contact with these harmful substances. Unlike food, where PFAS levels are regulated, makeup lacks such oversight. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set guidelines for the maximum amount of PFAS permissible in food or drinking water. However, they haven't established similar guidelines for PFAS absorbed through the skin.Consequently, surpassing established PFAS limits becomes a plausible scenario, with implications for your immune system and beyond.

Assessing the Health Impact

Understanding the impact of these substances on your health is crucial. They not only jeopardise your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses and inflammation, but they also meddle with essential bodily functions.
In addition to compromising your body's defenses, PFAS could impede the effectiveness of vaccinations, leaving you inadequately shielded against preventable diseases.
Furthermore, these chemicals have been associated with disruptions in cholesterol levels, heightening the risk of cardiovascular issues, liver damage, decreased fertility, and hormone disruption. They can also throw off the delicate balance of your liver and thyroid, affecting overall well-being.
And these are just the risks associated with a low percentage of PFAS in your system. Imagine the potential consequences with a higher concentration of PFAS in your system.

The Persistence of PFAS in the Body

The concerning thing about PFAS is that they don't disappear from our bodies quickly. After applying cosmetics with PFAS, it takes five years for the body to break down half of the absorbed PFAS amount. Then, it's halved again. This process is known as the half-life.
Due to this repeating cycle, PFAS maintains a long-term presence in our system. If you let PFAS penetrate your body through products every day, the existing PFAS levels continue to accumulate. This means the breakdown of PFAS may take longer than you might have realised.

Uncovering PFAS in Your Makeup

With 'PFAS' having multiple aliases, identifying them in products becomes quite challenging. With over 1000 different types of PFAS, discerning them can be daunting. Hence, we've meticulously curated our product selection, ensuring they're all PFAS-free. Try for example our PFAS free Mascara or our PFAS free lipstick.  Let science be our language, sparing you the need to decode it!