10 March 2009

Petroleum as a Component of Cosmetics

Dear reader. You may be wondering why this sudden interest in cosmetics, and rightly so. Would it come as some surprise to you that petroleum and cosmetics are linked? The same oil that powers your motorcars is also source to components in cosmetic products. My curiosity was sparked off by this YouTube video, a French advertisement from the 1960's by Petrole Hahn. You may notice that the actors and actresses in the advert are all African. To be fair, I do not know if Petrole Hahn was a petroleum-based product.

After surfing for a while, I realised that Petrole Hahn was the brand of a line of hair products. It is even being sold in Carrefour -- click here to see a 250 ml bottle of Petrole Hahn shampoo for sale. (Links to Carrefour Grand Champs website)

There is a link between petroleum and cosmetics. Some of the following material may be good reading.
  • The US Energy Information Administration says that "Petroleum provides a chemical base for cosmetics and pharmaceutical products as well as form many plastic products from toys to building materials." (Source: EIA site. Petroleum Products: Consumption URL: http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/infosheets/petroleumproductsconsumption.html. Accessed: 11 March 2009.)
  • Petrol was, in the late 1800's, first sold in small bottles as treatment for lice. (Source: Wikipedia. Gasoline URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline. Accessed: 11 March 2009.)
  • The Office on Women's Health, at the US Department of Health and Human Services, states that "Most hair dyes are now made from petroleum sources." (Source: US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Cosmetics and Your Health URL: http://www.4woman.gov/faq/cosmetics-your-health.cfm)
  • Natural News, a portal for natural products, posted on 20th March, 2007, that many petroleum-based cosmetics contain carcinogenic impurities, such as 1,4-dioxane, hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs, and acrylamides. (Source: Natural News dot com, 20th Mar. 2007. Petroleum-based cosmetics and skin care products found to contain cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane URL: http://www.naturalnews.com/021717.html. Accessed: 11 March 2009.)
  • The article at Natural News was sourced from EWG, better known as Environmental Working Group. (Ref: EWG, 8th February 2007. EWG Research Shows 22 Percent of All Cosmetics May Be Contaminated With Cancer-Causing Impurity. URL: http://www.ewg.org/node/21286. Accessed: 11 March 2009.)
  • A company claiming to specialise in organic make up, has a good write up on the link between petroleum and cosmetics. The company, known as The Organic Make Up Company, claims that many products contain chemicals. (Ref: The Organic Make Up Company. Petroleum and cosmetics: what are the potential health risks? URL: http://www.organicmakeup.ca/ca/PetroleumCosmetics.asp. Accessed: 11 March 2009.)

To end this post, I would like to point the reader in the direction of a website known as CosmeticsDatabase.com. Two links may be useful:
  • The list of products containing 2-NITRO-P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE or PETROLATUM or PETROLEUM WAX. (Source: Cosmetics Database. Browse Products Containing 2-NITRO-P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE or PETROLATUM or PETROLEUM WAX URL: http://cosmeticsdatabase.com/browse.php?containing=700029,704786,704788)
  • A list of what not to buy. (Source: CosmeticsDatabase.com. What Not To Buy URL: http://cosmeticsdatabase.com/special/whatnottobuy/index.php?nothanks=1)