When it comes to beauty products like makeup, shampoo, perfume, or deodorant, there are little to no regulations set for what is sold to us, which means manufacturers can use whatever they like.
“So many things are put into cosmetics now that are carcinogenic (cancer-causing), and it is allowed because cosmetics are not considered to be as serious as food or drugs. There is no question that people are being damaged by their cosmetics.” –Dr. Jean Munro, Medical Director of the Breakspear Hospital in Hertfordshire.
Breastcancerfund.org warns us that, the cosmetics industry uses thousands of toxic chemicals in its products, in everything from lipstick and lotion to shampoo and shaving cream. Many of these same toxins are used to clean industrial equipment, stabilize pesticides and grease gears.
Major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility or birth defects. One loophole in the regulations allows cosmetics to contain banned substances if they cannot be “reasonably” be removed. Reasonably removed? Yep, sounds like the epitome of a loophole to me.
According to the authors of, “Drop Dead Gorgeous: Protecting Yourself from the Hidden Dangers of Cosmetics”, toxic chemicals get into our bloodstream in a number of ways. Hair sprays, perfumes and powders are inhaled; lipstick is swallowed; eye make-up absorbed by sensitive mucous membranes and others taken directly in through the skin.
Here’s some of the “ingredients” to look out for:
Phthalates- Found in cosmetics like nail polish, perfume, and products that list perfume as an ingredient. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, breast cancer, and some phthalates act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems.
Triclosan– Used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Widespread use of triclosan may also contribute to bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents.
1,4-Dioxane– Known to be NOT listed on ingredient labels. It is a petroleum-derived contaminant formed in the manufacture of shampoos, body wash, children’s bath products and other sudsing cosmetics. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has ranked it as a possible carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified it as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.
Parabens– Widely used as an anti-fungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples of people with breast tumours.
Ethylene Oxide– A contaminant in personal care products like shampoo and body wash. It is classified as a known human carcinogen and is one of 51 chemicals that the National Toxicology Program (NTP) identifies as mammary carcinogens in animals.
1,3-Butadiene- Shaving creams, spray sunscreens, foundations, and anti-fungal treatments that contain the propellant isobutene may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,3-butadiene. Exposure occurs mainly through inhalation. This chemical has been found to increase mammary tumours in rodents.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)– A group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil and gasoline. One of the more common PAHs is naphthalene. Some cosmetics and shampoos are made with coal tar and therefore may contain PAHs. They have been shown to increase risk for breast cancer.
Placental Extract– Derived from HUMAN or animal PLACENTAS. The extract is used in hair conditioners, shampoos and other grooming aids, particularly those marketed to women of colour. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified progesterone, the major hormonal contaminant in placental extracts, as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.
Lead– May be a contaminant in over 650 cosmetic products, including sunscreens, foundation, nail colours, lipsticks and whitening toothpaste. Lead is a proven neurotoxin, linked to learning, language and behavioral problems. It has also been linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility in men and women, and delays in puberty onset in girls.
Sunscreen– Many sunscreens contain chemicals that exert significant estrogenic activity, as measured by the increase in proliferation rates of human breast cancer cells in vitro. Studies show these chemicals are accumulating in wildlife and humans.
In addition, ethanol can be found in mouthwash, bacteria can be found in mascara, mercury can be found in skin creams, and formaldehyde can be found in nail polish. None of these “ingredients” are safe for you, your fellow humans, the environment, or the animals that a lot of these products are tested on.
“If looks could kill,” is that some kind of twisted metaphor?
Please read the ingredients of all the products you buy as it could very well save your life.
There is an abundance of natural remedies found online that can replace just about anything you need. I personally make or order natural-made products for almost everything, and quite honestly, they have all worked BETTER than products I have bought from my local drug store in the past. For example, coconut oil is the best moisturizer you can get.
Being that a lot of these toxins are found in makeup, I feel the need to share the following:
I am very familiar with the confidence we believe makeup gives us, however, through my spiritual journey, I have grown to embrace myself without makeup. I went from contouring my face everyday to not wearing a drop of makeup, and I have never felt so full. Not wearing makeup has done more for my inner self than I could have ever imagined. I encourage you all to try and live without makeup or at least choose makeup that is mineral based.
(The image below is not intended to shame or hurt anyone, it is only intended to shed light on a serious issue. Unlike celebrities who have teams of people to make them look “glamorous,” this woman is just your average college student. Still, she was able to drastically manipulate the way she looks with her usage of makeup. Due to the toxic chemicals and risks associated with makeup, it is more important now than ever, for young girls to learn what is real and what is not.)
There are many other women out there who have also started their “no makeup” journey, and the results are impressive. Here’s one that was featured on Buzzfeed. Click here.