Could your makeup be killing you? Unless you buy organic makeup, the answer might be ... yes.
People have been ready to try anything to make themselves look more beautiful for millennia – the Elizabethans painted their faces with white lead powder to cover pockmarks, and the Victorians used face creams laced with arsenic and other poisons.
But today’s makeup formulas are free from harmful toxins, right? Wrong! The beauty business will stop at nothing to promise you eternal good looks and grab your cash, even when it comes to adding poisonous chemicals to your everyday cosmetics that have little-proven efficacy and could potentially cause you harm, if not death.
Numerous studies have shown that a lot of the artificial ingredients the cosmetic industry uses may cause cancer, skin allergies, autoimmune problems and inflammation, nervous system damage and are dangerous for pregnant women and unborn children. Many things you apply to your skin on a daily basis can be absorbed into your bloodstream and enter your organs, leaving a toxic residue that compromises your health.
Here’s a limited list of chemicals you should be concerned about when you buy your next beauty fix:
- Added to shampoo, lotion, cleanser and exfoliators. A common preservative found in up to 90% of cosmetics, parabens are absorbed directly into the bloodstream where they can disrupt estrogen levels and are potentially linked to breast cancer.
- Dibutyl Phthalates. Added to coloured cosmetics, fragrances, body wash, hair care and nail polish. Disrupts hormone function and reproductive health, can cause infertility or harm unborn babies by interacting with chemicals in the body to cause genetic mutation.
- BHA/BHT. Added to lip and hair products, makeup, sunscreen, deodorant, fragrances, and creams. These chemical compounds mimic antioxidants and are used as preservative agents. Unfortunately, they're also well-known carcinogens, can cause skin allergies, compromise organisms in our environment (when you flush them down the drain, and infertility in men and women.
- Coal Tar Dye. Added to shampoo, mascara, eyeliner, hair dye and lotions. Petroleum-based chemicals used for colouring and identified as “P-Phenylenediamine” or “C.I.” and a five digit number on labels. Another recognised cancer-causing ingredient, coal tar dye also contains heavy metals and aluminium that are dangerous when ingested (women ingest around 3.2 kilos of lipstick during their lifetime).
- SLS/SLES. Added to anything that lathers. Extensive contact with Sodium Laureth Sulfate has been linked to eye damage, depression, breathing problems and diarrhoea. It can stay in our system up to five days contaminating our hearts, livers, lungs and brains. It’s also linked to severe skin problems that can trigger autoimmune diseases like arthritis, lupus and ME. And it might cause cancer, too – the jury is still out.
These are just a few of the most common ingredients found in your beauty products – the list is extensive, and each causes significant harm to human, animal and environmental systems. That's why, when you're purchasing cosmetics, hair care and soaps, it pays to do your research thoroughly. Where possible you should always try to buy natural makeup with organic ingredients – the alternative is to lay yourself open to a wide range of toxic chemicals that, over time, may play havoc with your health.