We’ve already discussed toxic ingredients in your nail polish—but what about in your foundation, eye shadows, mascaras, and lipsticks? Keep reading for 10 potentially toxic ingredients lurking in your makeup bag!
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are suspected endocrine disrupters. What does that mean, exactly? Basically, ingesting it can lead to a wide variety of hormonal issues. In one laboratory experiment, it was shown to cause developmental defects in mice, and is thought to possibility impair fertility. One study even found a link between phthalates and diabetes.
Most commonly found in: perfume, deodorant, nail polish
A preservative mainly found in moisturizers, it’s another suspected endocrine disrupter. Plus, the FDA says it’s “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” but only in high concentrations.
Most commonly found in: eyeliner, blush, mascara, moisturizer, foundation, conditioner
In 2013, a new global treaty was released that limits the use of mercury in many household items, like lightbulbs—but not mascara. According to UN, they left out mascara because it contains only “trace amounts” of the toxic metal.
Most commonly found in: mascara, lipstick
A recent study revealed that a wide number of lipsticks and lip glosses not only contain lead, but also as many as eight other metals, like aluminum and cadmium. Though the FDA insists the average amount of found in a tube of lipstick poses no real health risk, there’s still a huge debate going on about the issue.
Most commonly found in: lipstick, lip gloss
Isopropyl alcohol is not only a skin irritant, but also a central nervous system depressant that causes flushing, headache, dizziness, nausea, and more. In laboratory studies with rats, inhalation had the ability to paralyze the respiratory system and even cause fatalities. Ingesting it in large amounts poses the biggest harm—the small amount you may inhale from makeup products is less dangerous, but you should definitely still be aware.
Most commonly found in: nail polish, hair dye, hair glosses
Mineral oil is a liquid oil produced from petroleum. According to one study, chronic exposure to poorly refined base oils has the potential to cause skin cancer.
Most commonly found in: body lotion, moisturizer, body oil
Triclosan is added to a bunch of products to prevent contamination. Unfortunately, the FDA admits that animal studies have shown it alters hormone regulation. Yikes. You can click here to read more about its potential harmful effects.
Most commonly found in: shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste
Parabens are another ingredient that help keep your makeup fresh and come in the form of butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben. In 2004, a research study seemed to imply a link between breast cancer and parabens, when trace amounts were found in breast cancer tissues. Since then, the researcher has said he made no claim that their presence are what caused breast cancer, but until further proof is revealed, it’s always good to be aware.
Most commonly found in: almost every beauty product—check the ingredient list!
Coal tar is a known carcinogen that’s banned in the EU, but still used in North America, and found in some shampoos and lotions. In the ingredients list, it can also be labeled as a color plus number, like FD&C Red No. 6.
Most commonly found in: dry skin treatments, anti-dandruff shampoo
Also known as hydrous magnesium silicate, talc is listed on the Environment Canada Dosmetic Substance List as a substance that is “expected to be toxic or harmful”. Talc particles containing asbestos have been linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems, according to the American Cancer Society. Most talc found in makeup is asbestos-free, but evidence about its safety still remains fuzzy.
Most commonly found in: eye shadow, loose powder, mineral makeup
Were you aware of these potentially toxic ingredients? Tell us your thoughts below!