While Johnson & Johnson is gearing up to dust out with a heavy compensation for damages its powder caused in the US, Proctor & Gamble may meet the same fate. More than 100 men in the US have filed a class action lawsuit against one of its flagship products, Old Spice, claiming that its deodorants have made them break out in painful rashes.
In India, Rakshanda Khan frantically searched for a salve to soothe the angry inflamed skin on her face. The 24-year-old call centre executive blamed the toner she recently used to take respite from the summer heat. “I normally use a toner during summers as it helps control my oily complexion. A few weeks ago I bought a new toner, which made my skin sensitive, after using it for a few days. The doctors said my skin reacted to the alcohol in it,” says the Delhi resident.
Summer is here, and with it comes an array of products that promise to bring relief from the angry heat. Be it talcum powders or face wash, there are products with tall claims like ‘thanda thanda cool cool’ and promises to cure prickly heat with an instant dusting of its powder. But before buying skincare products this summer, think twice about the hidden threats these smart advertisements otherwise do not highlight.
With the recent baby powder lawsuit, one hardly needs to elaborate why it is not a good idea to enjoy a liberal dusting of talcum powder. However, if you find it difficult to get over this obsession, start looking for a powder that does not contain asbestos. “The genital dusting powder after repeated and prolonged use are found to be associated with ovarian cancer. Asbestos-based powders are linked to ovarian and lung cancers. It should be asbestos free,” says Dr Sunil Sanghi, Senior Consultant, Dermatology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.
Very few, especially whose job involves travelling, can deny the comfort of convenience that face wipes bring during the sweltering heat. Again, baby wipes are perhaps the best invention for busy parents. But as tempting as these may be, wipes are not completely safe for the skin. “Face wipes or baby wipes contain the infamous methylisothiazolinone (MI) in increased concentration, leading to persistent dermatitis and certain preservatives causing allergic reactions. People should check for MI and paraben before using these,” says Sanghi.
It is very difficult to resist the temptation to cleanse or wash one’s face as the heat mounts. Supriya Shankar, a college student, keeps a bottle of face wash in her bag and makes it a point to cleanse her face after she reaches college. “I wash my face more frequently during summers to keep it oil-free and fresh,” says Shankar. But excessive cleansing can lead to dryness and allergic reaction if the face wash contains sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a foaming agent. SLS is not only an irritant to the skin, when exposed extensively it may also be harmful for eyes. It’s best advised to look for a cleaser that is SLS and paraben-free.
Deodorants and anti-perspirants contain fragrance and parabens that may cause allergic reactions such as severe skin rashes and dermatitis. “Due to frequent use, some of them have some association with breast cancer, though no definite evidence is available. Fragrance is the most common cause of allergic contact dermatitis,” says Sanghi.
- Powder contains asbestos that is linked to ovarian and lung cancers
- Face wipes or baby wipes contain methylisothiazolinone that lead to persistent dermatitis
- Deodorants contain fragrance and parabens that causes allergic reaction such as severe skin rashes and dermatitis
- Face washes with sodium lauryl sulphate, a foaming agent, cause skin irritation and are harmful for eyes