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The study investigated the health risk and cosmetology information: A study of university female students’ attention on cosmetics label.   Adopting a survey research design, a sample size of 395   derived from population of 28,711, a structured questionnaire used as instrument for data collection and simple percentage for data analysis, the finding of the study showed that   University female students are aware of cosmetology information. Findings also showed that most of the students do not thoroughly pay attention to cosmetic label and as result are prone to some of the health risks associated to the use of cosmetics. The study’s findings further indicated that some of University female students are aware of health risk associated to the use of cosmetology while some few others are not fully aware of the risks. It is based on these findings that the study recommended that University female students should adequately pay attention to cosmetic labels by effectively reading the information contained in the label before buying and using the cosmetic products. Female student more especially should reduce the level of the use of cosmetics in order to avoid possible health risks. It is also recommended that Information contained in cosmetic label should be adequately followed by students when using cosmetic products in order to avoid the misuse or abuse of the product. And at the same time indepth information on cosmetic products should be obtained   before proceeding to buy and use any given cosmetic products.






Cosmetics, also known as makeup or make-up, are care substances used to enhance the appearance or odour of the human body. They are generally mixtures of chemical compounds, some being derived from natural sources (such as coconut oil) and many being synthetics(Günther Schneider, Sven Gohla, Jörg Schreibe,2005). Whether it’s for putting on a show or just to play dress up, we have all used or seen it being used at least once in our lives. Makeup, which includes eye shadow, liquid foundation, lipstick, or mascara, is used by both genders, but is predominantly used by more females than males. Makeup can easily alter a woman’s appearance and this is why it’s exceedingly popular among today’s younger generation. Makeup communication on the body can do wonders for women, but if not handled properly makeup can pose a threat to their health.

Cosmetics being  a skin lightening  agents have been used to lighten skin colour for decades (Nnoruka & Okoye, 2006). It has been a common practice throughout the world, especially in the sub-Saharan Africa, starting in dark-skinned women, but recently spreading to fair-skinned women to tone their skin colour (de Souza,2008). The use of lightening agents is very common in Asia and Africa, because  having fair skin is linked to beauty and high social class. In Africa, the use of cosmetic lightener agents has been a long-standing practice that chiefly aims to change one’s skin colour and is a socially acceptable habit(de Souza,2008) It is common among both men and women.

The art of  use  body  makeup beautification through the use of cosmetics is not a new practice in the human society. The science of beautification and beauty contests has been in existence from time immemorial. In both the Ancient and Medieval times people have learn to adorn their bodies in different styles. Amongst the area where people acquire skills of adornment include hairdressing, aesthetic facial work and general body management. However, the degree to which attention is been focused on skin beautification, specifically skin bleaching, calls for a special concern. The art of body beautification has progressed from ordinary maintenance of the natural complexion to complete skin bleaching – an art of changing the colour of the body to become lighter. Olumide (2006) inferred that skin bleaching has taken over all other patterns of body beautification and thus making it complex to define the art of beauty (in the modern world) without mentioning the concept and practice of skin bleaching. Olumide (2006) identified the constituency of skin bleaching creams as including those that contained hydroquinone or ammoniated mercury. By implication, body make up  through the use  of cosmetics involves  body lightening or bleaching application of substances or solutions that are capable of removing the upper surface of the skin, thereby making the colour of the body to become lighter. Irrespective of the reasons that may be adduced by those that engage in the practice, it is always clear that the direct effect of skin  cosmetics and make ups exist in juxtaposition with the benefits; in some cases the effects overwhelm the benefits.

It is true that skin lightening or bleaching practice cuts across all ages, races, beliefs and ideologies. Even the white race that might claim advantage over others still engage in skin cosmetic use and makeup, probably as a method of maintaining their body colour or for other purposes as could be advanced. Nevertheless, the young female University student have been identified as most prone to skin cosmetic and makeup usage (Adebayo, 2008). One may therefore raise a puzzle in order to ascertain the causes of higher involvement of female adolescents in skin bleaching practice.

Several chemicals have been shown to be effective in skin whitening, while some have proven to be toxic or have questionable safety profiles, adding to the controversy surrounding their use and impacts on certain ethnic groups.

Specific zones of abnormally high pigmentation such as moles and birthmarks may be depigmented to match to the surrounding skin. Conversely, in cases of vitiligo, unaffected skin may be lightened to achieve a more uniform appearance(Rashid, Aliya,2006). Long term use of skin whiteners can lead to pigmentation increasing to the joints of the fingers, toes, buttocks and ears(Rashid, Aliya,2006) The skin of the face can become thinned and the area around the eyes can have increased pigmentation causing a ‘bleach panda effect(Olumide,2010).

Most skin-lightening cosmtic treatments, which can reduce or block some amount of melanin production, are aimed at inhibiting tyrosinase. Many treatments use a combination of topical lotions or gels containing melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with a sunscreen, and a prescription retinoid. Depending on how the skin responds to these treatments, exfoliants — either in the form of topical cosmetic or chemical peels — and lasers may be used. New development using LED systems are also showing good results (Rendon et al., 2006).

There are various mechanisms described for achieving this. Inhibiting tyrosinase activity and reduces the synthesis of melanin so that as existing skin cells are naturally exfoliated keratinocytes with less melanin are eventually brought to the surface, giving the skin a lighter, more even toned complexion(Woodruff and John,2010).  There is evidence to suggest that some types of skin-whitening products use active ingredients (such as mercurous chloride) and hydroquinone which can be harmful(Counter & Allen,2003).

In Nigeria, the history of skin bleaching may be traced to the period when race first appeared on the face of the country. Such initial contact could have created awareness about people with lighter complexion. Hence, the reason for the contact would be the slave trade dispensation and other commercial bloc. However, the method and degrees at which skin bleaching was practice in those days would definitely be difference from the present. Skin bleaching, which resorts to artificial removal of the topmost layer of the skin, could be done in different styles. Irrespective of the means by which the practice is been carried out, the part of the body that is bleached suggests the type or the pattern of skin bleaching. According to Olumide (2006), some forms of skin bleaching region include the face, upper parts, lower parts and private (sexual) parts. The reason for choosing which type or pattern of skin bleaching depends largely on the individual and the purpose of doing it.

1.1 Background  to the study

Ancient Sumerian men and women were the first to invent and wear cosmetic lipstick, about 5,000 years ago(Sarah & Schaffer,2006) They crushed gemstones and used them to decorate their faces, mainly on the lips and around the eyes(InventorSpot,2010)  Also around 3000 BC to 1500 BC, women in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization applied red tinted lipstick to their lips for face decoration( Ancient Egyptians extracted red dye from fucus-algin, 0.01% iodine, and some bromine mannite, but this dye resulted in serious illness. Lipsticks with shimmering effects were initially made using a pearle scent substance found in fish scales.

The Ancient Greeks also used cosmetics(Bruno Burlando, Luisella Verotta, Laura Cornara, and Elisa Bottini-Massa,2010) as the Ancient Romans did. Cosmetics are mentioned in the Old Testament, such as in 2 Kings 9:30, where Jezebel painted her eyelids—approximately 840 BC—and in the book of Esther, where beauty treatments are described.

One of the most popular traditional Chinese medicines is the fungus Tremella fuciformis, used as a beauty product by women in China and Japan. The fungus reportedly increases moisture retention in the skin and prevents senile degradation of micro-blood vessels in the skin, reducing wrinkles and smoothing fine lines. Other cosmetics  anti-ageing effects come from increasing the presence of superoxide dismutase in the brain and liver; it is an enzyme that acts as a potent antioxidant throughout the body, particularly in the skin(Reshetnikov, Wasser, Duckman &Tsukor,2000).

Cosmetic use was frowned upon at many points in Western history. For example, in the 19th century, Queen Victoria publicly declared makeup improper, vulgar, and acceptable only for use by actors( Pallingston, 2009). 

During the sixteenth century, the personal attributes of the women who used make-up created a demand for the product among the upper class(Angeloglou, Maggie,2014)  cosmetology beauty products are now widely available for use and are now mostly used  by most persons.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

For decades, cosmetic manufacturers have freely placed chemicals in their cosmetic and beauty products that have been linked to illnesses, cancer, and reproductive harm. These chemical hazards communication on the body include phthalates (a high concentration is found in nail polish), formaldehyde, benzene, and methylene chloride, all of which are known to be suspected carcinogenic agents. Most of these  chemicals  are linked to birth defects in animal as indicated by  studies which shows that  chemical used in cosmetics such as acetone, glycol ethers, and methyl methacrylates have been linked to birth defect among  humans. toluene and formaldehyde which are  two top ingredients of in nail products responsible for smooth finish across the nail due to its ability to evaporates into the air as nail polish dries, can affect the central nervous system with low level symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue. At very high exposures, these chemicals are found to be toxic to the kidneys and liver, and is a possible reproductive or developmental toxin capable of causing serious damage to human body. Based on these backdrops associated to of cosmetics, this study investigates the health risk and cosmetology information.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the health risk associated to cosmetic usage among university student and cosmetology information. Other specific purposes are

  1. To investigate if University female students are aware of cosmetology information and health risk
  2. To ascertain the level of use of cosmetics among University female students.
  3. To investigate the level of information on cosmetology among University female students.
  4. To ascertain the source of cosmetology information among University female students.
  5. To investigate some of the health risks associated to the use of cosmetics among University female students.


1.4Research Question

In other to be able to effectively carryout the study, the following research questions serve as a guild to the study.

  1. Are you personally aware of cosmetology information and health risk associated to it?
  2.  What extents do you personally use cosmetics?
  3. What is your level of information on cosmetology?
  4. What is your source of information on cosmetology?
  5. What are some of the health risks associated to cosmetics?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is significant to both young and old persons being it university students or not. The study is also of benefit to cosmetics manufacturers and fellow researchers.

For both young and old persons, the study elucidates some of the health hazard communication associated to the use of cosmetics on human health. The study also highlights some of the dangerous chemicals used in the making of these cosmetics which makes it a hazardous body communication substance. It will also enable both students and non-students to avoid some  of the bad communication cosmetics available at the market. For cosmetic manufacturers, the study will enable them see they reasons why they have to avoid the use of bad  body communication  cosmetic for the production of cosmetic products.  The findings of the study will also serve as a source of research material and reference to researchers.

 1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study covers the   health risk and cosmetology information among students. In terms of Geographical location, the study will only cover Awka south local government area and will specifically focus on Nnamdi Azikiwe University female Students Awka.

1.7  Limitation of  the Student

The student is only limited to Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka who will serve as the respondents to the study.

1.8 Definition Term

For the purpose of clearance in some of the terms used, the research defined some of the terms as used in the study.

Health Risk:  This refers to the dangers that are associated to the use of a substance.

Hazardous:  This is the term used in referring to any material that pose danger.

 Cosmetology: Professional skill or practice of cosmetic preparations and techniques

Cosmetics: This is a product produced from either artificial or natural substance used for body makeup or used for beautifying the body.



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