WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new analysis by Environmental Working Group of 100 BB (beauty balm) and CC (color corrector or complexion corrector) creams concludes that they may expose users to fewer toxic chemicals than the moisturizer, foundation and sunscreen they are designed to replace.
EWG’s report shows that a consumer using a BB or CC cream would typically be exposed to an average of 40 chemical ingredients, while someone using three separate products – foundation, moisturizer and sunscreen – would be exposed to an average of 70 chemical ingredients.
Checking products against Skin Deep, EWG’s cosmetics safety database, the team of researchers found that the average number of ingredients recognized as hazardous dropped from 3 to 1 when the user shifted from a three-product regimen to a single BB or CC cream. Note: Skin Deep is now available as an App for iPhone and Android devices.
“Consumers may wonder what BB and CC creams may mean for their health, as well as for their skin,” said Nneka Leiba, Deputy Research Director for EWG. “EWG found that, on average, you can reduce your exposure to cosmetic chemical ingredients by nearly half by using one of these products, instead of the usual trifecta of moisturizer, foundation and sunscreen. Still, consumers must do their homework before choosing a product because some BB and CC creams contain ingredients of concern.”
Many BB and CC creams also claim to provide some sun protection. EWG researchers found that while some of these products do offer adequate short-term protection against the sun’s harmful rays, others have poor broad-spectrum protection. Some contain hazardous ingredients such as vitamin A and oxybenzone commonly found in sunscreen products. EWG has published a list of top picks and products to avoid.
If the federal Food and Drug Administration adequately regulated cosmetics and sunscreen products, consumers would not have to worry about the ingredients in their BB and CC creams. But the FDA has no authority to require companies to test products for safety before they go to market. Nor does the agency review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they are sold.
The failure of FDA to protect the consumer from toxic or untested chemical ingredients is the biggest hurdle consumers face when searching for cosmetics and personal care products. That is why, according to EWG scientists, it’s essential that those concerned about what they apply to their skin do their homework before spending money on products that could expose them to chemicals that can elevate health risks such as cancer, allergies and hormone disruption.
“While some BB and CC creams may live up to their hype, others don’t,” Leiba said. “As with all cosmetics products on the market, you simply can’t trust the FDA to ensure that those products are truly safe and effective.”