Cosmetic Quiz - Test Your Skin Savvy

Most cosmetics are safe if you use them correctly. But there are some things to be careful about. Check out our special cosmetics true or false quiz and find out how much you really know!

  1. The FDA must approve all cosmetics before they go on the market? True or False
  1. Using mascara the wrong way can cause eye injuries and infections - even blindness. True or False
  1. It's fine to use hair dyes on your eyebrows and eyelashes. After all, they're hair too! True or False
  1. Tattoos used to be permanent, but now lasers are an easy, reliable way to erase them. True or False
  1. "Cruelty Free" or "Not Tested in Animals" means that no animal testing was done on the product and its ingredients. True or False
  1. "Hypoallergenic" triple-header
    1. If a product is labeled "All Natural" or "Organic," it's probably hypoallergenic. True or False
    2. Even if a product is labeled "Hypoallergenic," it may contain substances that can cause allergic reactions. True or False
    3. Choosing products with the claim "Dermatologist Tested" is a way to avoid an allergic reaction or other skin irritation. True or False

Answers

  1. Question: The FDA must approve all cosmetics before they go on the market?

False: Unlike drug companies, cosmetic companies may use almost any ingredient they choose, with these exceptions:

  • There are a few substances that are not allowed to be used in cosmetics.
  • All color additives must be approved for their intended use. For example, a particular color additive may only be used in an eye shadow if it is approved for cosmetic use, including the area of the eyes. Many colors even have to be "certified" by FDA. That means that samples from each batch must pass special testing for purity in FDA's own labs before they may be used.

If a product or its ingredients have not been shown to be safe, the product is supposed to have this warning statement on the label:

"Warning: The safety of this product has not been determined." For more, please read the "Are Cosmetics Safe" article.

  1. Question: Using mascara the wrong way can cause eye injuries and infections - even blindness.

True: The most serious risk from mascara is scratching your eye with the mascara wand, then getting an infection from germs on the wand. To use mascara safely, follow these rules:

  • Never apply mascara in a car, bus, plane or any other moving vehicle. It's easy to scratch your eye if you hit a bump or come to a sudden stop.
  • If mascara gets dried up, don't add water or - even worse - (yuck) spit into it to moisten it. This can add germs that may grow and cause an infection.
  • As mascara gets old, it is more likely to have germs growing in it. Throw it out after three months.
  • Don't share mascara - not even with your best friend. You might be sharing germs that way.
  • Remove all mascara, and any other make-up, before you go to bed. Bits of mascara can flake into your eyes and cause an infection.
  1. Question: It's fine to use hair dyes on your eyebrows and eyelashes. After all, they're hair too!

False: Never use hair dyes on the eyebrows and eyelashes. Doing this can cause blindness. There are approved, safe colors for mascara and eyebrow pencils, but no hair dyes are approved for tinting or dyeing the eyebrows or eyelashes.

  1. Question: Tattoos used to be permanent, but now lasers are an easy, reliable way to erase them.

False: Lasers have made it easier to lighten tattoos, but it's not as easy or as reliable as many people think. Lightening a tattoo generally takes several treatments and can be expensive. How well it works depends on the tattoo. Many tattoos can be lightened until they are much less noticeable, but usually a trace of the tattoo remains.

Also, some tattoo colors are harder to remove than others. Laser treatments can turn some tattoos darker instead of lighter, or change them to a different color. The same goes for "permanent makeup," which is a kind of tattoo. It depends on what ingredients went into the tattoo ink to produce the color.

But it can be hard to find out what's in tattoo inks because they usually don't have ingredients listed on the label. Very often, even the tattooist doesn't know what's in the tattoo ink because the company that made it considers the formula "proprietary" (pro-pry-uh-tar-ee). That means it's a trade secret. For more, please read the Tattoo Removal article.


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