What Are Some Harmful Ingredients Found in Makeup?


Quick Answer

There are many harmful ingredients found in makeup, such as benzophenone, carbon black, formaldehyde and fragrance. Other harmful ingredients found in various cosmetics include diethanolamine, homosalates and lead.

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Full Answer

Many cosmetics are manufactured with thousands of industrial chemicals that have been linked to a variety of health issues. Benzophenone, found in lip balm and foundation, is a bioaccumulitive and toxic chemical linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity. Carbon black, listed in product labels as D & C Black or acetylene black, is used as a pigment in eyeliner and mascara. This pigment is a carcinogen associated with organ toxicity.

Formaldehyde is a carcinogen used as a preservative in nail polish, eyelash glue and color cosmetics, and can cause skin irritation. Another harmful makeup ingredient is fragrance. It is not just one ingredient, but a cocktail of chemicals found in many cosmetics. Most fragrance chemicals are not listed, but some are associated with skin irritation, cancer and reproductive organ toxicity.

Ethanolamines, such diethenalamine, are bioaccumulative carcinogens found in eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara and foundation, and can cause organ system toxicity. Found in makeup that contains sunscreen, homosalates are linked to negative impacts on the body's endocrine system, specifically the estrogen system. Exposure to homosalates was found to increase breast cancer cell production.

Lead and other heavy metals like mercury, arsenic and chromium are found in lip products, eyeliner, eyeshadow and blush. Heavy metal exposure is linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive system toxicity and respiratory system toxicity. These chemicals are only some of the harmful chemicals found in makeup used by people everyday.

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