However much we try, makeup is one thing we just cannot avoid! A dash of face powder, a streak of lip-gloss and the perfect sweep of eyeliner are part of our daily morning wake up routines, without which, we look and feel incomplete. However, what is the cost you are willing to pay for this routine? Many times it happens that the ingredients mentioned are not true and that affects us. So there is an ugly side to these beauty products as well. Are you willing you allow health deterioration just to look ‘pretty perfect’? Here are the top 10 harmful cosmetic ingredients you need to beware of:
10. Coal tar
Coal tar is a known carcinogen derived from burning coal. It is a complex mixture of hundreds of compounds. Coal Tar makes skin more sensitive to sunlight and may increase your tendency to sunburn for up to 24 hours after application. Exposure to and application of coal tar produces skin tumors. It has also been associated with cancer of the lung, bladder, kidney and digestive tract. There have been many reports of skin cancer among patients using therapeutic coal-tar preparations. Pyridine, a coal tar constituent, has been linked to neurological damage, causing emotional and sleep disturbances, as well as loss of coordination.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas often used in cosmetics. With the help of preservatives, formaldehyde is released in small amounts over time to help protect cosmetic products against contamination by bacteria during storage and during continued use. It can be found in nail polishes, nail hardeners, eyelash glues, hair gels, soaps, makeup, shampoos, lotions, and deodorants, among other products. The most common side effect of formaldehyde in cosmetics is skin irritation, including scalp burns and hair loss. But the major concern is that it causes cancer. In some cases, salon workers complain of nose bleeds, eye irritation, and trouble breathing . This is due to repeated exposure to this chemical.
Homosalate is a widely used chemical in sunscreens and skin care products with SPF. It is a potential endocrine disruptor and impacts hormones. In addition to direct health concerns following homosalate exposure, the chemical may also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body. This UV-absorbing sunscreen ingredient helps sunscreen to penetrate your skin. Once the ingredient has been absorbed, homosalate accumulates in your bodies faster than you can get rid of it, becomes toxic and disrupts your hormones.
It is a strong inhibitor of melanin (skin pigment) production .It is the most effective ingredient for reducing and potentially eliminating brown spots and hyperpigmentation. It inturn increases the skin’s exposure to UVA and UVB rays, increasing the risk of skin cancer. Hydroquinone is linked to a skin condition called ochronosis in which the skin thickens and turns bluish-grey. Exposure of the eye can cause pigmentation and permanent corneal damage. Hydroquinone may be harmful if inhaled, causing irritation of the nose, throat and upper respiratory tract. A study on occupational exposure of hydroquinone showed that subjects exposed to hydroquinone had a higher prevalence of a cough and decreased lung capacity compared to their unexposed counterparts.
Lead may not necessarily cause cancer, but it most assuredly is an element dangerous to humans; one they should make every effort to distance themselves from. Exposure to lead can cause a range of deleterious health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death. At high levels, it attacks the brain and central nervous system to cause coma and convulsions. It can also cause speech impairment and decreased muscle and bone growth. A recent federal analysis shows that majority of the lipsticks contain this metal.
Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products; they stop fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favorite creams and makeup, especially in the moist, warm environment of a bathroom. They cause a rising incidence of breast cancer. Declining sperm counts and increasing rates of male breast cancer and testicular cancer are also related to the fact that these chemicals can be absorbed into our skin, potentially disrupting our endocrine systems.
Retinol is the chemical name of the essential micronutrient vitamin A which can be harmful to your health when it’s added to cosmetic products in the form of retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate. It is found in anti-aging creams and lotions, moisturizers, and foundations. Retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate, in combination with sunlight, may increase the risk of skin cancer. The most common side effect of retinoids is irritation. They exfoliate your skin from the inside-out and during the process, your skin can become extra sensitive. It can peel, turn red, flake, randomly flush, and grow dry. Many people also purge, or experience acne flares, during their initial use.
Benzophenone is used in personal care products to protect them from UV light. It is persistent and toxic. It is linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity. Benzophenone is found in lip balms, nail polishes, foundations, baby sunscreens, fragrances, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, moisturizers, and foundations. Being a carcinogen, it can lead to several forms of tumors. It can affect the endocrine system indirectly by changing gene expression. The presence of oxybenzone can lead to photoallergy, allergic contact dermatitis and facial erythema.
2. Carbon black
Carbon black is a dark black powder used as a pigment in cosmetics such as eyeliners, mascaras, nail polishes, eye shadows, brush-on-brows, lipsticks, blushers, rouges, makeup, and foundations. Carbon black is the product of incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials. It is a human carcinogen causing skin, lung and lymphatic cancers, largely due to the presence of poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Long-term exposure to carbon black can lead pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis. Several human studies indicate carbon black exposure may increase the risk of lung disease. Carbon black exposure is a possible concern for workers, particularly exposures to the respiratory system and eyes when it is in powder form. Early research suggests carbon black may increase the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Triclosan is a broad spectrum antimicrobial used as an antiseptic, disinfectant or preservative in cosmetics. It is found in antibacterial soaps and detergents, toothpaste and tooth whitening products, antiperspirants/deodorants, shaving products, creams and color cosmetics. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and impacts thyroid function and thyroid homeostasis.
Hence, reading the cosmetic labels for ingredients is the need of the hour. We are left with two options. Either minimize the use of these beauty products, which is a burdensome task for most women or shift to herbal beauty products which assure you of the absence of any harmful ingredient that proves to be detrimental to your health.
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