The Dangerous Truth About Cosmetic Ingredients: What’s Really in Your Makeup Bag?

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The other day, I was having tea with my good friend, Megan Graham of Megan Graham Beauty on Newbury Street and she asked me what kind of makeup I use. At first I thought this was just simple girl talk, but then she explained that she was concerned about the chemicals in the products she was currently using. The truth is that since leaving my salon job a year and a half ago to join the wellness team at Balans, I really haven’t been using much! That need to “put my face on” is not as strong for me these days as it was for me during those years at the hair salon. I am glad that she asked me because now, more than ever, I am aware now of my environmental footprint and what ingredients I use on my body. Since working with the line MARIA ÅKERBERG Deepskin Organics, I have learned a lot about how important sourcing of ingredients is. This definitely applies to skincare products, but perhaps even more so for makeup. There are a myriad of nasty chemicals lurking in most popular cosmetic brands.

I have compiled a list of 5 of the most dangerous ingredients:

Benzyl Peroxide, Parabens, Sulfates, Silicone and Mineral Oil.

1.  Benzyl Peroxide– This is a popular ingredient in many acne products despite being and eye, skin and respiratory irritant.  It produces DNA damage and may act as a mutagen.

2.  Parabens–  These are highly regulated in Europe because there is evidence that they interfere with hormone function and are endocrine disruptors.  They are widely used in the USA, and other parts of the world as preservatives even though they are known to be toxic.  You may be surprised by how many products you already have contain parabens.  Look out for methylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben and ethylparaben.

3.  Sulfates–  This ingredient is found in everything from car wash, to personal care products, especially shampoo.  Although a known irritant, it is widely used to make products foam. Look out for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). 

4.  Silicone– This ingredient is derived from Silica (sand) that has been chemically processed.  In Europe it is classified as an endocrine disruptor. This is a popular ingredient in eye shadows, eye liners, liquid foundation, lipstick and powders used to increase water resistance and to make it spread easier.  Look out for dimethicone and siloxanes.  

5.  Mineral Oil– This ingredient is derived from petroleum just like motor oil and interferes with the body’s natural ability to breathe and release toxins. It is used in many creams and personal care products.  Sadly, Baby Oil is 100% Mineral Oil.  Stop using it!  it is no good for you or your baby.  Besides clogging your pores, it is also linked to Cancer.    

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