Did you know that quite a few cosmetic products in the shelves have a small percentage of borax? Now, did that come to you as a surprise? Do not worry! Apart from being used as a buffering agent for laundry cleaning, borax is also used widely in soaps and cosmetics.
But the concern is – how safe is borax for your skin? The answer lies in this post. Keep reading to discover more.
Is Borax Safe?
Borax was first discovered in Persia around 4,000 years ago, and ever since then humans have been mining this mineral. The crystals of borax are formed when the water on the mountain runoff and lakebeds evaporates. The crystals thus formed concentrate and harden after a period making the mineral appear chalk white. When borax is introduced into hot water, it converts the water molecules to hydrogen peroxide, which produces the bleaching effect.
The element boron is present in borax, which is needed by the plants as a trace mineral. However, excess exposure to boron is toxic and kills the plants, which is why it is used for destroying poisonous weeds. Similarly, borax, when used in small amounts, can prove to be helpful, although its excessive use can be toxic.
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Why Is Borax Used In Cosmetics?
Borax is combined with wax to improve the consistency of cosmetic lotions and creams. It works as an emulsifier in combination with wax and is mostly used in hand soap as an abrasive cleaner. Its alkaline nature makes it an excellent ingredient for cleaning. Cosmetic manufacturers blend borax with other elements to form an exfoliating and cleansing cream that eliminates bacteria and dead skin cells, reduces oil, and prevents the formation of acne. That is why borax is used as a common component in many cold creams and exfoliants.
Low concentrations of borax are usually considered to be safe on the skin. However, most of the product labels advise rinsing the face or the hands completely after the use. In some cases, the increased alkalinity levels of borax can lead to significant skin irritation.
How Safe Is Borax For The Skin And General Health?
- Earlier, boric acid, which contains almost similar properties like borax, was used for washing eyes. However, it is no more used for medicinal use. According to a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel, the compounds containing borax or boric acid should not be used excessively as they can prove to be toxic. It can also cause skin allergies and irritation in many (1).
- The EPA has warned that the toxic effects caused by borax mostly affect men, and can cause serious problems to the testicles leading to lower sperm counts and tubule atrophy. It is the main reason borax has been banned in the US. However, many other nations still allow the use of this mineral.
- Chronic toxic exposure to borax can cause serious skin problems, including peeling and reddening of the skin, seizures and even kidney failure.
- Borax is used illegally as a preservative in many packaged foods, including noodles, steamed rice, meatballs and caviar.
- Most studies suggest that short-term exposure to borax does not lead to cancer. However, exposure to borax for more than ten years through cosmetics and food products can, in some cases, lead to liver cancer.
- Using cosmetics with borax during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects and can also cause male infertility.
- Excessive borax exposure is also responsible for abnormal fetal development, and in some cases also causes skeletal and brain anomalies.
[ Read: Is Borage Good For Skin? ]
Finally, even if you are using a borax product, make sure that you keep it out of the reach of your children and rinse all the surfaces and even clothes where the mineral has been used. Pregnant women should avoid exposure to borax or limit its use. So is borax safe on skin? Borax, when used in a small amount and with precaution, can be safe on the skin, but its excessive use is certainly not advisable.
Let us know how this post has helped you. Do comment in the box below.
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