In Pursuit of Safe Cosmetics: Why Beauty Brands Get Sued

The Old Spice Lawsuit: Suing Beauty Brands is Totally a Thing Now

Some may think beauty products are about the last thing in this world we need to sue over. Deodorant and lipgloss? C’mon.

But here’s the deal with wanting safe cosmetics: Those products, especially the ones we use every day, have the ability to do a lot of damage.

The cosmetics and personal care products made in this country are very under-regulated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of overseeing cosmetics, but only about 10 percent of the more than 10,000 cosmetic ingredients currently being used in beauty products have been tested for safety.

We are now well aware that the skin has the ability to absorb about 70 percent of what we put on it. These ingredients then make their way into our bloodstream and organs, potentially wreaking havoc on our health.

Sure, the government may say the stuff we health conscious consumers choose to avoid in our cosmetics and personal care are safe. But topically applied prescription medications are a big deal these days because they’ve been found to work. If a patch can deliver medicine to the body, cosmetics can deliver whatever they contain too.

Even those chemical cosmetic ingredients that have been deemed safe in controlled quantities are a farce. Not only does this practice not account for multiple product usage (the average person uses at least 10 cosmetic/personal care products daily), but many manufacturers use more than one type of the same ingredient in those small doses. Parabens are a prime example. It all adds up.

Consumers are the catalyst for change. You’ve heard the adage “vote with your dollars”. And it is so true. What we buy determines what manufacturers make more of, and the cycle continues. Now consumer’s voices and concerns over cosmetic safety are being heard on a larger platform. Enter, the beauty lawsuit.

We are not talking tiny little mom and pop shops here. These are big, well-known brands getting slapped with legal suits over product safety.

The most recent is the Old Spice lawsuit. Okay, no one thinks these products are natural or healthy, despite the nature-themed advertising. A Virginia man is suing Procter & Gamble, Old Spice’s parent company, for $25,000 in damages over the burned, irritated pits he suffered after using its deodorant.

I searched the ingredient listing on Old Spice High Endurance deodorant and it is chock full of propylene glycol. The ingredient makes the deodorant slippery and emollient. It is also known to cause skin irritation. The product also contains synthetic fragrance, linked to headaches, skin irritation, impaired fertility and fetal development, hormonal disruption, and asthma.

The Old Spice lawsuit is not alone. Wen by Chaz Dean and EOS lip balms have seen their day in court. And more recently, baby product giant, Johnson & Johnson, has been hit with a suit over the use of talc and its link to a cancer death. The company was ordered to pay $72 million in damages.

This may be treating the symptoms rather than the cause, at this point. Still, it may be opening eyes to the serious health issues of using harmful synthetic ingredients in cosmetics.

For now, the best practice in protecting yourself from adverse effects from damaging ingredients is to know what you don’t want in a product and read those ingredient listings.

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Image of deodorant via Shutterstock

Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert who has been researching and writing on the subjects of natural beauty, health, and wellness for over 10 years. She specializes in sharing safe beauty products and her knowledge on healthy ingredients with her readers, and helping organic beauty brands and shop owners share their message and products with the world through her writing services.