Beauty and Makeup: Top Harmful Ingredients to Avoid

Ever wondered if there are any adverse side effects to wearing makeup or the skincare products you use for your face and body? Sadly, it’s hard to avoid ingredients that can affect your health, from hormonal disruptions to cancer, and the more unpleasant part is that they can go directly into your bloodstream when applied to the skin or hair.

Although there have been many studies that have gotten different viewpoints on this topic, we are sure that most of you will agree to use natural products instead, making it the safest option for your and even beneficial to the environment.

So if you want to know what those side effects and harmful chemicals are then you may want to read this article.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS/SLES)

Products to watch out for/ found in:

  • Shampoos
  • Soaps
  • Products that lather

This ingredient is commonly known as SLS or SLES, a cleaning substance used in shampoos, cleansers, and everything that forms bubbles and foam. Long and continuous contact with SLS can result in diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, eye damage, and even depression.

According to the environmental health insights of the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI), this product ingredient is intended for the application of detergents and cleaners and should be avoided in direct contact. They also add that “misuse of the product could potentially cause dermal (skin and ocular) or inhalation exposure”.

BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

Products to watch out for/ found in:

  • Hair Products
  • Lip Products
  • Makeup
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Fragrance
  • Creams

BHA and BHT are chemical compounds that resemble antioxidants which are used in lipsticks and moisturizers as preservatives. These human carcinogens may cause certain allergies on the skin. BHA is so harmful that it can cause damage to an organism in the water when it is flushed out or rinsed down our drains. High exposure to BHA and BHT can cause “acute symptoms consisted of exacerbation of vasomotor rhinitis, headaches, asthma, flushing, suffusion of conjunctiva, occasional dull retrosternal pain, marked diaphoresis and somnolence” says TOXNET (Toxicology Data Network).


Products to watch out for/ found in:

  • Makeup
  • Moisturizer
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving gel
  • Spray tans

If you love makeup, then you might want to take a look at the back of the ingredients to see if it contains paraben before you do buy it. A lot of makeup already have this and many people don’t know it’s cancerous. Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized studies linking parabens, which can result in skin cancer, breast cancer, and reduced sperm count.

A study by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products claims that “longer chain parabens like propyl and butylparaben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl, and isobutylparabens”, may derange the endocrine system and can result to reproductive and developmental disorders. So anything that “paraben” in it, remove them.


Products to watch out for/ found in:

  • Body Wash
  • Makeup
  • Toothpaste
  • Scrubs

Love to exfoliate? Well, if you’re not aware of it, those small plastic beads in face or lip scrubs and exfoliating washes are produced from polyethylene. Many companies use this instead since they’re gentler and more calm on the skin than natural exfoliators like walnut shells.

The US FDA found out that these synthetic chemicals are usually contaminated with 1,4- dioxane, which they consider to be a probable human carcinogen and which unhesitatingly penetrates the skin. You should never use Polyethylene on a broken skin since it’s considered to be a skin irritant. Its beads in our body washes and scrubs are not strained by our sewage systems, meaning they can gather pollutants and travel into waterways, where they’re ingested by fish and marine animals.

Heavy Metals – Lead, and Mercury

Products to watch out for/ found in:

  • Makeup Products (Lip, Eyes, Face)
  • Nail Polish
  • Moisturizers

This is a pretty obvious one, found especially in cosmetic/beauty products that you use and can assemble in our body in the long run and can result in a group of health-related side effects including cancer, neurological disorders, reproductive and developmental problems, muscle, and organ damage, etc.

Lead and mercury is a neurotoxin which the FDA discovered that hundreds of cosmetic lip products contain this dangerous ingredient. If this is absorbed by our bodies, it can accumulate in our liver, kidneys, lungs, bones, and tissues that can lead to damage of cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems.

Expectant mothers with their unborn children are the highest risk of lead poisoning as it can infiltrate through the placenta and into the brain during the development of the fetus.

On the Note

This is just the same with how we take caution of what goes into our food. Always read the label and take note of the ingredients that we mentioned above before the product goes into your shopping cart. Don’t be hesitant to be curious about what the product is made of and is it safe for your body.

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Author Bio :

Ivandrea Ollero is a beauty fan and a makeup lover herself, she provides useful makeup techniques and skincare tips for enhancing the natural beauty of everyone. Ivandrea is a daytime writer for Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy, one of Australia’s leading makeup and skincare brand.