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6 Chemicals In Makeup That May Affect Your Health

Most cosmetics contain toxic elements. Cadmium found in eye shadows and mascaras may cause kidney and bone diseases. Toluene found in nail polish may affect the central nervous system. Benzophenones used in sunscreens may cause skin reactions like dermatitis. Parabens found in shampoos is associated with breast cancer. Lead in lipsticks may cause behavioral disorders. Talc in powders may cause ovarian cancer.

All cosmetics ranging from lipsticks to foundation creams contain a wide variety of chemicals. Most women today, including teenagers, use makeup almost every day. The regular use of too much makeup may affect your skin adversely.

Sometimes, these chemicals can affect more than just your skin. You may be using too much makeup at the cost of your health. Let’s examine the chemicals in makeup and their side effects.

Chemicals In Makeup That May Affect Your Health

Most of the cosmetic products today contain toxic or allergic elements. Here is a list of six chemicals that your body is exposed to when using too much makeup.

1. Cadmium

Cadmium In Eye Shadow May Affect Your Health

Eye shadows, lipsticks, lotions, mascaras, and many other cosmetic products have been found to contain the element cadmium. Studies show the association of cadmium exposure with renal dysfunction and bone diseases, and in very severe cases, cancers.1 Cadmium accumulates in the bone and is associated with osteomalacia and osteoporosis.

2. Toluene

Toluene In Nail Polish May Affect Your Health

Toluene, a chemical often found in nail polish and some hair dyes, has emerged as one of the well-studied neurotoxins. Studies demonstrate that exposure to too much toluene can affect the central nervous system.2 The exposure to this chemical can cause damage to the central nervous system and may lead to disorders like dementia. Toluene leukoencephalopathy is another health condition that may arise due to the exposure to this chemical.

3. Benzophenones

Benzophenones In Sunscreen May Affect Your Health

Benzophenones are chemicals used in personal care products to protect them from the ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The primary sources of these chemicals include topical sunscreens and other cosmetics like lip balm and nail polish. These chemicals, when used regularly, may cause adverse skin reactions like contact and photocontact dermatitis and contact and photocontact urticaria. They may also cause severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis.3

4. Parabens

Parbens In Shampoo May Affect Your Health

Parabens are chemicals or preservatives that are added to cosmetic products to prevent the growth of microbes like bacteria. They are commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, facial and shower cleansers, and scrubs. The exposure to this chemical is closely associated with breast cancer.4 Other health conditions include endocrine system disruption, skin cancer, and developmental and reproductive toxicity which include reduced sperm production and testosterone levels.

5. Lead

Lead In Lipsticks May Affect Your Health

Lead is one of the leading impurities in color cosmetics, especially lipsticks. Studies show that the long-term exposure to low doses of lead in childhood may result in learning, language, and behavioral problems.5 This chemical is also closely linked to infertility in both men and women.6

6. Talc

Talc In Powder May Affect Your Health

Talc is found in baby powders, deodorants, hygiene products, face masks, and lotions. It may contain the cancer-causing agent known as asbestos. It is added to cosmetic products to absorb moisture and to soften the products. There are studies that link the use of talc powders with ovarian cancer.7

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration claims that the concentration of these heavy metals in cosmetic products is very small and that a concrete conclusion about their adverse health effects cannot be made based on the current research and evidence.8 However, it is always better to be on the safe side; therefore, use makeup products as less as possible.

References   [ + ]

1. Järup, Lars. “Cadmium overload and toxicity.” Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 17, no. suppl_2 (2002): 35-39.
2. Filley, Christopher M., William Halliday, and B. K. Kleinschmidt-DeMasters. “The effects of toluene on the central nervous system.” Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology 63, no. 1 (2004): 1-12.
3. Heurung, Ashley R., Srihari I. Raju, and Erin M. Warshaw. “Benzophenones.” Dermatitis 25, no. 1 (2014): 3-10.
4. Darbre, Philippa D., and Philip W. Harvey. “Paraben esters: review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity, absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks.” Journal of applied toxicology 28, no. 5 (2008): 561-578.
5. Needleman, Herbert L., Alan Schell, David Bellinger, Alan Leviton, and Elizabeth N. Allred. “The long-term effects of exposure to low doses of lead in childhood: an 11-year follow-up report.” New England journal of medicine 322, no. 2 (1990): 83-88.
6. Wu, Hsien-Ming, Dan-Tzu Lin-Tan, Mei-Li Wang, Hong-Yuan Huang, Chyi-Long Lee, Hsin-Shih Wang, Yung-Kuei Soong, and Ja-Liang Lin. “Lead level in seminal plasma may affect semen quality for men without occupational exposure to lead.” Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 10, no. 1 (2012): 91.
7. Muscat, Joshua E., and Michael S. Huncharek. “Perineal talc use and ovarian cancer: a critical review.” European journal of cancer prevention: the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP) 17, no. 2 (2008): 139.
8. Cosmetics. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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