Harmful Makeup Ingredients: Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics

Did you know the average woman uses about 15 to 20 cosmetic products a day? Unfortunately, most makeup includes bad and even harmful chemicals. Studies show that the skin absorbs more than 60 percent of the toxic chemicals in cosmetics, averaging up to five pounds of unneeded chemical absorption every year. Children absorb 40-50% more than adults, meaning they are at a much higher risk for medical conditions when they grow up. So is it bad to wear makeup?

A few years back, there was a health scare when it was discovered that certain lipsticks contained traces of lead. Lead?!?! In something we are buying from a store and applying to our lips? The skin is our body's largest organ, and while it serves as a barrier, it absorbs certain amounts of chemicals in skin care products. In fact, some experts state that the absorption through the skin is more harmful than by mouth. Certain chemical ingredients have the ability to break down the skin barrier to get into the bloodstream. While the body can filter out most bad chemicals, some build up in tissues and organs. The chemicals can cause various health conditions, including skin allergies, reproductive issues, premature aging, birth abnormalities, and even cancer.

Harmful Ingredients in Cosmetics

Most mainstream cosmetics, makeup, and skin care products on today's market contain a bad variety of irritants, allergens, and carcinogenic chemicals. In fact, a moisturizer can have up to 30 synthetic chemicals and perfume up to 400 elements. Among the main bad guys on the list of ingredients are parabens, preservatives often used in deodorant, shampoo, and soap. Parabens are commonly used to stop the growth of bacteria, but they also mimic the effects of hormones, which can lead to the growth of tumors. Another harmful ingredient is sodium lauryl sulphate, which helps products like shampoo and bubble bath lather up, but it can cause skin irritation.

Hazardous and Bad Ingredients in Makeup

It is essential to pay close attention to the ingredients in your skin care products by thoroughly reading the labels and understanding what ingredients to steer clear from. Two of the worst chemicals found in many cheap, low cost skin care products are parabens (what are parabens?) and petrolatum, a bad but common chapstick ingredient. If some makeup or cosmetic contains harmful chemicals, fragrances, preservatives and colors, there is a good chance those elements will make their way into your bloodstream. A good rule of thumb is if you have trouble pronouncing an ingredient or know if from chemistry class, it is best to avoid the product. Examples of harmful elements include sulfates, formaldehyde, phthalates, triclosan, olefin sulfonate, potassium cocoyl glutamate, benzoyl peroxide, butyl acetate, and phenoxyethanol.

In addition to avoiding certain ingredients, there are some bad cosmetics that should just be avoided altogether. Examples include hair dyes, heavily scented products, skin lighteners with hydroquinone, hand soaps containing triclosan, hair products with isobutene, skin creams with petroleum, and anti-aging creams with AHA and BHA acids.

Safe Makeup

What you put on your skin is just as important as what you eat, and a good way to think is imagining the makeup or cosmetic you are applying to your skin inside your body. If you do not feel comfortable, try a different product. A good way to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that are potentially damaging to your body is using safe makeup with fewer products with simpler elements. Determine which cosmetics you can go without, and choose ones with fewer ingredients, opting for ones that are not hard to pronounce. You also want to avoid makeup and products that contain fragrance. Fragrances commonly contain a large amount of chemicals to provide the favorable aroma. If you need a good smelling product, try one that contains natural fragrances, such as essential oils.

Another way to protect your skin from some toxic chemicals in cosmetics is to use organic skin care products with all-natural ingredients that won't shock or harm your skin and body. MoreNature offers skin care products that do not contain harmful elements featuring ingredients from nature that you know and trust, like coconut and cinnamon. Our skin care products are 100% vegan and paraben free, containing at least 70 percent pure organic ingredients.

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  • MoreNature - May 27, 2016

    Hi Jennifer, there is makeup out there that is safer for you. It contains less or even no chemicals. Unfortunately MoreNature does not sell make up. Try to google chemical free make up and see what comes up.

  • Jennifer Rogers - April 18, 2016

    Good post, thanks for sharing this with us. But without makeup, it doesn’t work now a days. Then what should be done?

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