Are your soap, shampoo and cosmetics safe?

(NC) Soap, moisturizing creams, shampoo, deodorant and cosmetics are a part of everyone's life. Without thinking twice, most of us use these products every single day. Most are safe, but they can sometimes cause health problems, like allergic reactions and skin irritation.

By thinking twice and following these tips, we can protect ourselves and those around us: 

  • Check the container for safety information, including hazard symbols. 
  • Always read and follow directions carefully. Misuse of a product can lead to problems like rashes, burns or eye damage. 
  • Don’t spray cosmetics near a flame or source of heat. This can cause fires or explosions. 
  • Keep cosmetic products out of the reach of children. If a child swallows a cosmetic, contact the nearest poison control centre. You can find the number on the first page of your telephone book or call 411. 
  • Most cosmetics contain preservatives. These important ingredients help keep bacteria from growing in the product.
  • Keep your cosmetics clean by washing your hands before putting on makeup. Avoid sharing makeup and do not add water or saliva to dilute it.
  • Keep cosmetics in a dry area, away from direct heat and sunlight. 
  • Do not use a cosmetic if it changes in smell, colour or texture. 
  • A product labelled “hypoallergenic” can still cause allergic reactions. Hypoallergenic simply means that the product is less likely to cause allergic reactions. 
  • Be careful of unrealistic or exaggerated manufacturer claims on any product, especially if they suggest major or permanent changes to your body or skin structure. If the product has a therapeutic effect on your body, like treating a disorder or skin condition, it is considered a drug or natural health product and should have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) or a Natural Health Product Number (NPN) on the label. 

If you’ve had a health or safety issue relating to cosmetics, report it to Health Canada. Find more information at

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