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Top Five dangerous chemicals lurking in cosmetics!

Apr. 30, 2014|1335 views


Back in the mid-1970s, the cosmetics company, Bare Escentuals, launched the mineral makeup revolution. Marketed as an alternative to liquid makeup, mineral makeup is touted as more “natural” than liquid. Some women find that it’s easier to achieve a natural look with mineral makeup, to be sure. But others are not convinced, complaining that it can collect in the fine lines on your face, drawing attention to these minute wrinkles. To each her own. 

Let’s put things in perspective. For one thing, both kinds of makeup contain minerals. And neither type can be said to be particularly natural. Many of the minerals included in makeup are lab-created substances, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Other common ingredients include mica and iron oxides (natural rust). Natural titanium tends to be contaminated with other heavy metals that you definitely wouldn’t want on your face or anywhere else near your body. So the fact that it’s purified and processed in a laboratory is a good thing. But it renders meaningless the supposed distinction between “natural” mineral makeup and traditional liquid makeup. 

What mineral makeup doesn’t contain, though, is preservatives, fragrances, dyes, parabens, and other questionable chemicals and additives. So in that sense, mineral makeup may be somewhat closer to “natural” than conventional makeup formulations. Because it features no oils, many women with oily skin find they’re better able to tolerate mineral makeup. Ditto women with skin conditions, such as rosacea or eczema. There’s another potential advantage to mineral makeup. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are often featured in these powdered cosmetics, are physical sunscreens. By applying this type of foundation, you’re protecting your delicate facial skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. And that could do more to protect the look and health of your skin than any cosmetic, because UV radiation is ultimately responsible for most of the signs of aging.

Top Five dangerous chemicals lurking in cosmetics! 


Found in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other types of cosmetics, BHA and BHT are classified as possible carcinogens. Long-term exposure to these ingredients has been linked to liver, thyroid, and kidney problems.


On ingredients lists, these will show up as “P-phenylenediamine” or “CI” followed by a number. P-phenylenediamine is a coal tar dye found in hair dyes, while CI (or Color Index) numbers are used to identify coal tar dyes in a variety of pigmented cosmetics like lipstick. Derived from petroleum and composed of many different chemicals, coal tar dyes are recognized as a human carcinogen and have been linked to brain damage.


This ingredient helps make cosmetic products creamy or sudsy and can be found in products like facial cleansers, shampoos, soaps and moisturizers. In the short term, DEA can cause moderate skin and eye irritation, while sustained exposure has been linked to liver, skin, and thyroid cancers.


Dibutyl phthalate is a plasticizer commonly used to prevent nail polish from becoming brittle. Consistent use of DBP has been linked to hormonal disruptions and developmental defects in fetuses, as well as liver and kidney failure.


Look for ingredients like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. These preservatives are used to increase the shelf life of a variety of cosmetics and they work by continuously releasing small amounts of formaldehyde – a known human carcinogen.


Tags:  health tips, chemicals beware