While your makeup may help you look more alive, it may be making you feel worse. An increasingly documented occurrence shows that certain types of makeup and beauty products may be what’s making you sick. We’ve all been told from the time we started wearing it that nasty eye infections can result from sharing mascara, but much worse ailments have resulted from wearing makeup and using other beauty and personal care products — some, potentially deadly.
The culprits are toxic chemicals that continue to populate products from some of the world’s biggest Makeup brands.
In a case that made headlines in 2012, the manufacturer of the hair-straightening product Brazilian Blowout settled a class-action lawsuit for about $4.5 million after the product was found to contain a dangerous amount of a known carcinogen that was making people sick.
In multiple multimillion-dollar settlements, Johnson & Johnson paid out to people who claimed that using baby powder for years resulted in cancer.
After claims that one of its products was causing hair loss, hair care company Wen faced a $26-million class action case.
The list goes on and likely, will continue to.
A recent Canadian study by Environmental Defence tested personal care products to discover and an average of 14 “secret” ingredients per product were not disclosed on the list of ingredients. Generally, things like phthalates, lead, and PEG compounds are among the most toxic chemicals found in makeup and other beauty products.
“Green beauty has so much to offer on top of the health benefits.Some people might use conventional products their entire life, and not see any adverse effects. Other people have health conditions either already present, or that they are susceptible to, that may be made worse by certain chemicals found in personal care products,” said Merrady Wickes, Beauty Director of Toronto’s The Detox Market.
“It also matters how many products you’re layering (women typically use at least 12 daily), and how much you’re using—think body lotion versus eyeliner. Some preservative systems mimic estrogen, which is not ok for those dealing with estrogen dominant illnesses like PCOS, endometriosis, and certain breast cancers. The hormone disruptors and endocrine disruptors in many products can be particularly bad for those with auto-immune conditions like Lupus or Hashimoto’s.”
Despite the potentially disastrous impacts on health, the problem is that cosmetic regulations haven’t been updated in the United States since the 1930s. The Food and Drug Administration has little control over the beauty industry, so the culprits persist.
Thanks to a growing awareness, however, a growing number of people are turning to green beauty products.
A new study by Ipsos called What the Future: Beauty revealed that the features like natural, clean, and sustainable are ones that attract beauty buyers to try new brands and switch up their beauty regimes, with two-thirds of respondents reporting that “I would be interested in trying new products from other brands if they are natural.” With each new study or alarming headline, people everywhere are revamping their beauty regimes to make them healthier.
The good news is that we have more options than ever when it comes to healthier, greener beauty and personal care brands that won’t be making you sick.
“Switching out conventional products for natural ones should be fun,” said Wickes. “I compare it to food—If you eat birthday cake for every meal and snack, your health will likely suffer. But if you eat it at birthday parties, you’re good. Switch out your products slowly, as you run out of them. Aim to switch out products you use a lot of daily, or that you use on more absorbent body parts like your scalp and underarms.”
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