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How Harmful is Your Makeup?

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Most of us are familiar with the phrase “Put your best face forward,” and we are willing to sacrifice much time and effort trying to do so. We conceal this, base this, and powder that, and then add the icing-- eye shadow, blush and mascara. For most girls, this routine follows suit anywhere from 5-7 days a week. But have you ever considered if your beauty routine is causing more harm than it’s worth? Have you ever stopped to wonder is that banging gloss or perfectly-matched power really safe? Find out here!


Think about it like this-- when you go shopping for bread or milk, what’s the first thing you look at on the package? You guessed it. The expiration date, and if your food needs one, so do your beauty products. But what most of us don’t consider is that the only way to avoid or extend the life is to add chemicals, which is where the concern arises. With complex names that even sound scary, these chemicals are used to preserve, color, and add smell and effectiveness to products, but the long-term effects of such chemicals are often debated.

You might automatically assume that products labeled natural or organic would put us in the safe zone, but the accuracy of these terms is not policed and can be misleading. Since most products are mass produced with a profit in mind, those that really are more natural in content will most often be more expensive and harder to access. For the budget conscious, make-up likely isn’t the place to spend any extra funds, so it makes sense instead to be aware of what not to buy in the meantime. Below is a list of five common chemicals to steer clear of according to rodalenews.com.

1. Fragrance

If a cosmetic product's ingredients info lists "fragrance" or "parfum" as an ingredient, you might want to put it right back on the store shelf. These terms are catchall phrases that can indicate any of thousands of different chemicals, including some linked to asthma, allergies, hormone disruption, and even infertility.

2. Parabens

Parabens, preservative chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer, can be found in 70 to 90 percent of cosmetics, according to The David Suzuki Foundation, an organization that focuses on sustainability and health. Parabens are readily absorbed by the skin, and may even interfere with a man's reproductive system. Avoid any ingredient with "paraben" in the word, including methylparaben.

3. Triclosan

Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical linked to thyroid damage and partially blamed for the rise in hard-to-kill superbugs like MRSA. It's a common ingredient in antimicrobial soaps, but some cosmetic companies sneak it into lipstick and other products, too. Look for triclosan on ingredient labels, and particularly on labels making claims of being antimicrobial or germ free.

4. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, something you definitely don't want to be applying to your body. The problem is, many common preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products mix with other ingredients and start releasing formaldehyde. Ingredients like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate should be avoided; doing so will protect you from formaldehyde exposure.

5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Other PEG Compounds

Sodium laureth sulfate is a foaming agent used in shampoos and facial scrubs and to help your skin absorb lotions and other cosmetics. It's commonly contaminated with potential and proven cancer causers like 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, and products listed as PEG or polyethylene glycol often face carcinogenic contamination problems. Used in many cream-based cosmetics and as moisture carriers, other PEG ingredients should be avoided whenever possible.

This list may seem intimidating but it’s all about educating yourself and understanding where you can begin to make small changes to make your overall health your number one priority. For more simple and inexpensive ideas on leading a healthier lifestyle start here and let us know in the comments below where you’ve made lifestyle changes to improve your health and or beauty routine.

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