Toxic Ingredients in Makeup, Cosmetics and Beauty Products

Organic Buenos Aires staff

Most beauty products, makeup and cosmetics, including shampoo, face cream, deodorant, lotions and body washes, are full of toxic and cancer-causing ingredients, and harmful chemicals.

Anyone who uses makeup every day is actually absorbing 5 pounds (or 2.3kgs) of chemicals into their bodies every year. And that’s not even counting the toxic ingredients absorbed through lotions, creams, shampoos and conditioners.

In fact, we aren’t even sure how many chemicals you might actually be absorbing because it is not mandatory for cosmetics companies to list all of the ingredients in the product on the label.

The U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has listed the number of toxic chemicals found in cosmetics at around 900!

Taking this into consideration, Organic Buenos Aires always suggests going for natural or organic alternatives when buying makeup, cosmetics or any other beauty products. Alternatively, you can make your own cosmetics and lotions. Check these recipes out for a couple of 100% natural skincare and beauty products.

Always check for these toxic ingredients in makeup and cosmetics

Here are some of the major toxic ingredients and chemicals found in beauty products, lotions, makeup and cosmetics that you should definitely avoid:

Paraben: Parabens are chemicals that are generally found in deodorants, makeup, some shampoos and other cosmetics and mimic the female hormone oestrogen, which can form human breast tumours. Look for these ingredients on the label of the beauty product:

- Propylparaben
- Parahydroxybenzoic acid
- Parahydroxybenzoate
- Methylparaben
- Ethylparaben
- Butylparaben
- Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
- Methyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
- Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
- Propyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
- Butyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid

Phthalates: Phthalates are plasticising ingredients linked to birth defects and low sperm motility, among other problems, including cell mutation.

Mercury: Mercury is incredibly dangerous and can damage brain function. Find out about the dangers of skin contact with the metal in this article. Mercury is used in mascara, gels, and even eye drops. It may be listed as “thimerosal”.

Lead: Lead is found in many brands of lipstick. Studies show there is no safe level of lead, and lead will stay in your body for your entire lifetime. Lead is a neurotoxin and can cause learning, language and behavioral problems. It is also linked to infertility and miscarriage.

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS or SLES): Sodium lauryl sulphate is a surfactant, detergent and emulsifier that is used in thousands of cosmetics, including almost all shampoos, scalp treatments, hair colour and bleaching agents, as well as toothpastes, body washes, cleansers, make-up foundation, liquid hand soap, laundry detergent and bath oils. Sodium lauryl sulphate is contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen.

Musks: Musks are used as fragrances and can actually accumulate in your body. Musks have been linked to skin irritation, hormone disruption and cancer.

Artificial fragrances: Artificial fragrances can cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks and are among the top five allergens. These artificial fragrances can also contain neurotoxins and cause hormone disruption.

Petroleum byproducts: Petroleum byproducts are used in numerous toiletries, including makeup, shampoo, baby shampoo and face creams. Petroleum byproducts have been linked to cancer and are often not listed on the label.

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): Methylisothiazolinone is a chemical which is used in shampoos to prevent bacteria from developing, and can cause problems to your nervous system.

Toluene: Toluene is made from petroleum or coal tar, and is found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure to toluene is linked to anaemia, low blood cell count, liver damage, kidney damage, and can be dangerous to foetuses.

Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum: These products actually coat your skin like plastic, clogging your pores and causing toxins to build up. They have been linked to slow cellular development, early ageing, cancer and disrupting hormonal activity.