Putting on makeup makes many women feel luxurious. Time spent pampering oneself in front of a mirror can help boost confidence. Yet, considering that many cosmetics contain potentially hazardous ingredients, makeup application could actually be detrimental to one’s health. Three of the most common unhealthy cosmetic ingredients are listed below.
Unsafe Cosmetic Ingredient #1: Parabens. Cosmetic designers have long loved parabens’ ability to extend shelf life and protect against decay. Parabens are created in laboratories, and so they were assumed to be harmless – until scientists like molecular biologist Philippa Darbe found connections between parabens and breast tumors. Darbe’s breast cancer findings highlight the fact that up to 60% of breast tumors appear in the section of the breast nearest the armpit – exactly where parabens enter the skin by way of deodorants, creams, and body sprays. Despite this cautionary evidence, the FDA has not found a causal link between parabens and breast cancer, so the department has not restricted their inclusion in products. Still, many people now avoid parabens, citing the concern that long-term paraben exposure could be dangerous.
There are other health-related reasons to steer clear of parabens. For one thing, people with sensitive skin sometimes experience allergic reactions to parabens. Moreover, some scientists have suggested that parabens could also be linked to developmental and neurological disorders.
To avoid buying products that contain parabens, scan labels for any ingredient that ends in paraben – for instance, you might find ethylparaben in a toothpaste, or isobutylparaben in a skin cream.
Certain manufacturers now actively avoid parabens. Nuxe Paris’ Tonific Deodorant is 100% paraben-free, for instance, as is Bliss’ Lemon + Sage Body Butter. (In fact, Bliss has promised to eliminate parabens from their entire line.) As far as cosmetics go, Sheer Tint Lip Color from BECCA Cosmetics is free of parabens. For those hoping to even out their skin, BECCA Cosmetics’ Compact Concealer is an excellent paraben-free selection.
Unsafe Cosmetic Ingredient #2: Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic, according to the US National Toxicology Program, yet many products still include it. It’s hard to for manufacturers to break the formaldehyde habit, since this substance and its derivative formalin prevent bacteria growth. Hair strengtheners and nail polish are especially likely to contain formaldehyde or formalin. Still, there are many available beauty products, such as Top Coat Nail Polish from BECCA Cosmetics, which do not contain formaldehyde.
Unsafe Cosmetic Ingredient #3: Lead. There’s a nasty rumor going around: Lipstick contains lead. Actually, this is more than a rumor – FDA studies have proven its veracity. Why is this a problem? Because lead is a neurotoxin that amasses in the body with repeated exposure. Increased aggression, diminished IQ, and poor school performance have all been connected with lead exposure. Indeed, you may have heard about lead poisoning through campaigns warning against exposing children to lead paint. Yet women across the globe apply lead-laden lipstick on a daily basis.
Happily, some manufacturers now make lead-free lip products. Nuxe Paris’ Reve de Miel ultra-nourishing lip balm is a great lead-free way to refresh lips. Rather than parabens, this Nuxe Paris product contains grapefruit seed oil, a natural preservative.
While formaldehyde, parabens, and lead are some of the most noxious substances in cosmetics, they are not only hazardous ingredients present. Women who hope to use products free of unhealthy chemicals must perpetually educate themselves on this complex topic.