Are Cosmetics Really Killing You?

Beauty products & primers may not be as safe as we think! Cyclomethicone and dimethicone found in the best primer for large pores are reported to cause skin and eye irritation. Talcum powder in baby powders can cause ovarian cancer! What’s more; propylene glycol is so toxic that it demands workers to wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles!

A survey by the Environmental Working Group revealed that on average, an adult uses 9 beauty care products containing 126 unique chemical ingredients on a daily basis. Further, unlike the regulations for beverages, medications, and food, the safety guidelines for cosmetics aren’t nearly as tough. This inherently suggests that consumers need to be wise label readers and be well-informed of the ingredients in cosmetics that lead to possible health risks. We will now probe into the most common and controversial chemicals found in beauty products.


Parabens are chemical preservatives present in various personal care products such as makeup, lotions, shampoo, and deodorant. These are known to disrupt hormone function and are revealed to be associated with an increased risk of reproductive toxicity and breast cancer. Parabens applied on the skin surface through lotions, for instance, may react with UVB rays, causing the skin to age, damaging the DNA.

Talcum powder

Evidence supporting the idea that talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer has been found to be very weak. However, scientific studies have undeniably evinced that routine application of talcum powder in the genital area can increase the development of ovarian cancer.


Nanoparticles are engineered microparticles measured in billionths of a meter that alter the way many products work, including beauty care products. While there have been no apparent health risks related to nanoparticles, they have the potential to cause lung problems if inhaled.


Triclosan, an antibacterial and preservative agent commonly found in hand soaps, toothpaste, and deodorant, has been evidenced to be a hormone disruptor and is associated with antibiotic resistance.


Formaldehyde is an allergic and irritant toxic chemical present in nail polish and hair straighteners. It can also cause contact dermatitis, headaches, chronic fatigue, and cancer at high levels of exposure.


Resorcinol is typically used to treat seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, eczema, corns, and warts. It has been found to irritate skin and can potentially contribute to thyroid dysfunction if used on broken skin at large and prolonged exposure.


Toluene is present in some nail polishes. Overexposure can cause short-term neurological effects including headache, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, hallucinations, fatigue, and euphoria. Exposure to toluene during pregnancy can potentially affect a developing fetus.

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

Found in some lipsticks, the preservative butylated hydroxyanisole is evidenced to be a probable carcinogen in high doses. Nonetheless, it is completely harmless at normal dosage.


Phthalates can be found in nail polish, soap, skin lotions, nail hardener, and fragrances and are typically used as solvents and plasticizers. Exposure to phthalates can escalate the risk of low hormone levels, early puberty in girls, reduced fertility in males, and reproductive organ abnormalities.

Be a Wise Consumer!

Many women use cosmetic products to look the best they can. Ironically, these products could actually cause a potential risk beyond expectation. Numerous chemicals used in beauty products are proven to be hazardous in large doses and high levels of concentration. Some chemicals remain effective at very low dosage especially to people with allergies.

In effect, people who are wary of toxic chemicals have shifted to natural cosmetics, thinking that they are much safer. However, natural cosmetics may not always prove to be a safer choice, considering there are a number of natural ingredients that can also cause skin irritation and allergies. Some of these are tea tree oil, lanolin, cinnamon, lavender, citrus oils, and various essential oils. As such this leaves us, consumers, with no choice but to conduct some research before buying.

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