The 15 Most Toxic Makeup Ingredients That You Should Avoid

Apr 14, 2020 | Skincare

Since 2009, 88 different makeup ingredients have been found to cause serious health issues. These are illnesses like cancer, birth defects, or reproductive damage.

Some companies take it into their own hands to make sure your products are toxin-free. But some toxins can easily hide under unassuming labels like “fragrance.”

You most likely don’t have the time for us to list all 88 ingredients. But these 15 are the most common ones that could be hiding in your makeup products.

1. Fragrance

As we talked about above, some very dangerous chemicals can hide as the ingredient “fragrance” on your makeups ingredient list.

The thing is, you don’t know what fragrance means in your products. It could be harmless. Or it could be deadly. Unless you 100% trust that your makeup is ethically sourced and safe, avoid makeup with fragrance as an ingredient.

2. Parabens

Parabens are in 75% to 90% of makeup products. They’re included as a preservative to help your makeup last longer.

But they seep into your skin and wreck with your natural hormones. They can cause breast and skin cancer and lower sperm count in men. Since they act like estrogen in your body, they can also cause impaired fertility or hurt fetal development.

Some companies use several different types of parabens, which pushes them farther down the ingredient list. Nonetheless, the parabens all work together and damage your body. Look for any ingredient with a series of letters followed by “paraben.” These are ingredients like ethylparaben or propylparaben, amongst many others.

3. Triclosan

Triclosan is linked to thyroid issues. But since it acts as a microbial, it’s also responsible for causing a rise in superbugs. Look for it by name.

4. Formaldehyde

We all know formaldehyde is for dead bodies, not living things. So if you were to see it on your ingredients, you would stay away.

Companies are smarter than that. They don’t put straight formaldehyde in their products. Instead, they include several chemicals that release formaldehyde when they decompose together. It has the same effect – causing illnesses from allergies to cancer.

Look for these ingredients:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Methenamine
  • Quaternium-15
  • Sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate
  • Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol)
  • 5-Bromo-5nitro-1,3-dioxane

Any of these ingredients should be avoided in your makeup.

5. Phthalates

Phthalates are most often found in nail polishes or hair spray or as a carrier for a synthetic fragrance. But they’re endocrine disruptors and they can damage fertility or fetal development.

Look for it by name, but it often masks itself as a fragrance.

6. Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium Laureth sulfate is usually used in creams like a concealer. In a strange twist of fate, it irritates the skin and can cause acne and cancer too. Keep an eye out for sulfates in your products.

7. The Retinol Family

Any chemical in the retinol family is usually used in anti-aging products. They’re safe – until they touch sunlight. Then they become carcinogenic. Anti-aging products are great for night creams, but keep them out of your day time makeup bag.

8. Petroleum Distillates

You wouldn’t put petrol on your eyes. But petroleum distillates are manufactured in the same refineries as petrol. In makeup, they’re often used in mascara, but they’re mixed with carcinogens and can cause rashes around your eyes.

9. Lead

Some major lipstick companies still include lead in their products, even though it stays in your body forever and it’s a known neurotoxin. It’s not the kind of thing you want to be wearing while making out.

10. DEA, MEA, and TEA

These are Diethanolamine (DEA), monoethanolamine (MEA), and triethanolamine (TEA). These ingredients are used as a foaming agent in products. But it’s known to cause cancer in lab animals and cause organ and neural toxicity.

On top of that, 100,00 to 200,000 animals are killed worldwide every year for cosmetic testing. If you want your makeup ingredients to protect animals too, definitely avoid DEA, MEA, and TEA. Opt for cruelty-free products instead.

11. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)

This is another makeup preservative that can cause serious health problems. It’s a possible neurotoxin and can cause damage to fetuses. It hides under long names mixed with numbers, and it can even sneak its way into paraben-free products.

12. PEG Compounds

PEG compounds are petroleum-based that are found in a wide variety of personal care products. On their own, they can irritate skin and eyes. But they make it easier for other toxins to seep into your body too.

13. Triclosan

Triclosan is an antibacterial that was originally for hospitals. It’s linked with organ toxicity, allergic reactions, and skin, eye, and lung irritation.

Plus, it hides in everything from hand sanitizer to shaving cream, deodorant, and toothpaste, on top of your makeup.

14. BHA and BHT

These stand for butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

BHA and BHT are used as preservatives, both in makeup and in some foods. But on top of allergic reactions, they’re possible carcinogens.

15. Siloxanes

Siloxanes are used to make cosmetics and personal care products more creamy and smooth. But they interfere with human hormone functioning. They can even cause fertility issues.

Avoid These Toxic Makeup Ingredients in Your Products

If you want to look beautiful inside and out, you need to make sure your makeup ingredients aren’t sabotaging your efforts.

Check your current products for these ingredients, and replace them with a healthier alternative. The problem with a lot of these chemicals is that they’re mixed. We don’t always know how long they stay in your system, or what sort of reactions mixing them can cause.

Health is one of your values, and you demand your makeup to meet your standards. Consider your other values and how your makeup reflects that.

If you’re against animal abuse, consider shopping for vegan or cruelty-free products.

If you’re worried about sustainability in your products, look for ethically sourced ingredients. Make sure your makeup is packaged in eco-friendly packaging.

Makeup is a great way to reflect your beauty and your values. Make sure your makeup choices reflect that too.

Do you want to know about our number one favourite secret ingredient for stunning youthful skin? Read about it here.

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