Before we buy anything, whether food or drink we are advised to read the label carefully. The label contains the ingredient list, the manufacturing details and much more information that we should know. In the ingredient list, we check the ingredients and that is the most important thing. Some are good for health, some might not and some are the ingredients you could be allergic to. We only buy the products whose ingredient list matches our requirements and avoid everything which could be potentially harmful to us. In short, reading the label gives us an insight into the food or drink we are purchasing and the same applies in the case of your makeup.
But when we buy cosmetic products, do we check the label?
Probably no but it is very important to know what is in the makeup and skincare we are using on our skin everyday.
Whenever you buy makeup, you should thoroughly read what ingredients your makeup or skincare contains. Some could be good, some could be toxic and some could cause allergic reactions. Not just the ingredient, the next important thing on the makeup is the expiration date. It should not be ignored at all.
But how to know which ingredient is good and which ingredient is bad. As a science student, I have studied a lot about chemicals. Some are good and some are very nasty and hence should be avoided at all costs. Unknowingly, we buy the product with harsh chemicals and that is a big mistake we make.
But don’t fear when we are here. We have made a complete guide to help you make the next purchase.
Fragrance should be avoided at all costs in makeup or skincare products. Although they make our products smell good and appealing, they could be very dangerous for use. Some fragrances are synthetically created in labs to make the sales of the product good. Fragrance could be the cause of many allergies related to your skin.
Thus, it should be avoided and fragrance-free products should be purchased.
Phthalates are the chemicals used in cosmetics to make the fragrance last longer. They make the products more pliable. If there is a fragrance, there is no doubt that the product has phthalates in it.
Commonly found in nail paints, hair sprays, they are abbreviated as DEP, BBzP, DEHP and DBP for diethyl phthalates, benzyl butyl phthalate, Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate and dibutyl phthalate respectively.
In some studies, phthalates are found to be extremely dangerous. Phthalates are chemicals that can cause many serious health issues. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, breast cancers, reproductive malformation and cardiovascular events are some of the health issues which could arise from the use of phthalates.
Parabens are a group of preservatives and antimicrobial chemicals which help in preventing the growth of mould, fungi and bad bacteria on your makeup. It seems to be a good idea to have parabens in your makeup and skincare because it would help them live a longer life but all that glitters is not gold and that is true in the case of parabens.
When studies were conducted on parabens it was found that they mimic estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a human reproductive hormone. The studies have found evidence that parabens in cosmetics products could cause some serious threats for instance thyroid disruption, problems with reproductive health, obesity and in some cases breast cancer.
Some countries have banned the use of parabens and while some others are reinvestigating it.
Prefer paraben-free products for use instead of the one which has parabens in them.
A very common ingredient found in powders or any powder product like eye shadows, blushes, face powder. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral. It is composed of magnesium, silicon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Talc is generally safe to use but it isn’t purified well enough before use. It could be contaminated with asbestos which is another very dangerous carcinogen.
Silica is used as an absorbent and abrasive agent in cosmetics. It is a very widely used chemical also known as silicon dioxide. Silica is naturally occurring and has two forms. Amorphous silica and crystalline silica (quartz). Amorphous Silica is generally safe to use but crystalline silica is toxic.
Crystalline silica is a known human carcinogen.
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative and is found in keratin smoothing treatments that rely on the chemical to lock the hair’s broken disulfide bonds into a straighter position but formaldehyde is a carcinogen and your cosmetic products shouldn’t be containing formaldehyde in it.
7. MINERAL OIL
Mineral oil in the form of paraffin and petroleum is a widely used ingredient in the cosmetic industry. Commonly found in moisturizers and lip products they are the key ingredient to offer moisturization. The thick consistency of the mineral oil keeps accumulating on the human skin and thus it is considered to be the largest contaminant present in the human body due to its use of it in the long term. Well treated mineral oils are fine to be used but untreated or mildly treated mineral oils used in manufacturing are considered to be carcinogens by the World Health Organization.
We all have heard about skin lightening creams. The key component in these creams and serum is hydroquinone which is a topical bleaching agent. These creams are marketed as a product as a fairness cream. They have a huge market in South Asian countries where everyone wants to look fair and a shade lighter. Extensively found in such skin-lightening creams and serums, they are also used in the treatment of hyperpigmentation.
Many countries have banned the use of hydroquinone. The use of hydroquinone involves many risks. It is known to cause certain types of cancers, lower levels of immune response and exogenous ochronosis.
9. ETHOXYLATED AGENTS
Ethoxylated agents include polyethylene glycols (PEGs), ceteareth, oleth, and sulfates. They are used as thickeners, solvents, and softeners in cosmetic products,
Sulfates are commonly found in soaps. It is the key ingredient that is responsible for the bubbles and lather. Some sulfates are synthetic, whereas some others are derived from sulfur and petroleum. The natural sources of sulfates are coconut and palm oils.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is notoriously known for its harshness. This is a hard cleaner that dries your hair out and could give a massive hair fall. To make it safer to use, it is converted into sodium lauryl sulfate and is sometimes converted into Sodium Laureth Sulfate through a process called ethoxylation. A by-product of this process is 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that is a likely human carcinogen.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antimicrobial chemical and is found in sanitiser and body soaps, mascara and toothpaste.
The ingredient came under the heat after research found out that it alters hormone regulations in animals. It gets absorbed in the body in little quantity every time it is used. It might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs. Triclosan isn’t an essential ingredient in many products and should be avoided.
You should check every cosmetic product you use for these chemicals. If you find them ditch the product completely as it is not safe to use. Prefer using clean products and safe to use formulas to avoid any risks in short term or in long term. You are important and you look beautiful with or without makeup.
To conclude, it’s time to be a smart shopper and avoid anything toxic in your cosmetic products.