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Drop dead gorgeous: how your cosmetics are killing you

Thousands of synthetic chemicals used in industrial manufacturing are being used in everyday cosmetic products.

The same ingredients being used in shampoos and creams are used to clean industrial equipment, stabilize pesticides and grease gears.

In the U.S., there is a major loophole in federal law that allows the cosmetic industry to put thousands of harmful synthetic chemicals into care products. In most cases, these chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, and more.

The FDA has banned certain chemicals from use, but has no control over the cosmetic industry.

The average woman uses more than 10 health and beauty products before leaving the house, leaving her susceptible to thousands of side effects in order to get her literally killer looks.

The chemicals are commonly found in most products from shampoo to lipsticks and toothpaste. They are hard to find because they are hidden behind big words like “butylated hydroxytoluene” when all they really need to say is “fatal”

Butylated hydroxytoluene is a chemical found in creams, shampoo, lipstick and eyeshadow. Side effects of BHT include carcinogen and teratogen, dermatitis, rashes, asthma attacks, breathing problems, fatigue, liver stress and more.

BHT is not the only chemical with scary effects. Coal Tar is another chemical that hides behind names like fd&c or d&c colours-derived from petroleum. Coal tar contains petrochemicals such as benzene, xylene and toluene. Coal Tar is known to cause asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness, lack of concentration, as well as skin, lung and scrotum cancer.

Fluoride Sodium monoflurophosphate is a chemical most commonly found in toothpaste. Ironically, the chemical can be poisonous to humans when ingested over a long period as it accumulates in body tissues. It also decreases fertility in women and is not approved by the FDA in the US for foods. It has also been removed from animal feeds because it was causing birth defects in offspring.

Formaldehyde can also be found in many cosmetics such as nail polish, shampoos, mascara, baby washes, bubble baths, and deodorant. Formaldehyde, a chemical used to preserve dead bodies and animals for science, can be an irritant to the skin and respiratory system when used in cosmetics. It can also cause dizziness, headaches, chest pains, and weaken the immune system.

Fragrances are also a big killer as just one perfume can contain more than 500 chemicals. Fragrances are found in most cosmetics to mask the smell of chemicals in the product. Fragrances can cause health effects like dizziness, skin irritation, and hyper pigmentation. They are also highly neuron-toxic. They can also be irritating to the eyes, nose and throat, as well as triggering asthmatic reactions in otherwise healthy people.

Mineral oil is another killer masked behind a pretty name. Commonly found in baby lotions, face creams, eye shadows, etc., mineral oil coats the skin like plastic wrap, which interferes with the skin’s natural immune barrier and limits the skin’s ability to breathe and release toxins. It also slows down skin function, resulting in premature aging.

Phthalates hide behind many different names and in many different products from nail polishes, fragrances and shampoos to body lotion and medicines. The chemical causes birth defects, early puberty in girls, sperm damage, and infertility. There is also a growing number of studies linking phthalates to reproductive problems in men and boys.

Two more dangerous chemicals are Polytethylene and Titanium. Polythethylene can cause nasal tumors and cancer of the liver, as well as leaving the skin vulnerable to bacteria. Titanium is found in most cosmetics, including creams and sunscreen. The chemical can increase the risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Talc is short and sweet, and found in baby products, but the side effects are anything but baby. Clear evidence says that inhaling talc and using it in the genital area causes ovarian cancer and urinary tract disorders, as well as respiratory distress in infants.

Triclosan is found in everyday products like deodorants, mouth wash, antibacterial products, and soaps, as well as being infused into utensils, toys, bedding, socks, and garbage bags. Triclosan can cause immune system assault, low thyroid levels, infertility, IQ deficits, and more.

There are about 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products but only 13 percent of them are safety tested.

A common misconception is that chemicals are only found in cheap makeup brands, which is incorrect as most high end products can actually contain more of the fatal chemicals.

Nars, for example, uses oxybenzone, which is a double-edged ingredient that causes irritation or triggers allergic reactions to light.

Lash Lure, a permanent mascara and eyelash dye, can cause face ulcers and blindness thanks to the ingredient p-phyenylendiamine.

Orly Nail Lacquer contains what is known as the toxic three, – toluene, dibutyl phtalade and formaldehyde – which impairs breathing and causes birth defects and cancer.

Lead is another killer found in 100% of lipsticks tested by two consecutive FDA investigations. Lead can cause learning and behavioral disorders and in some cases death.

Maybeline, L’oreal, Cover Girl, Nars, Sephora, Smashbox and MAC were all found to have harmful ingredients in their makeup products.

“I use so many makeup products, including the ones listed, and it is scary to think that they could be so harmful to me. It is also so scary how they hide, I mean no one really looks at the ingredients before they buy a product because you never know what to look for. There needs to be a change in order to protect people,” says sophomore Amanda Bruce.

Bruce was not the only one who had no idea of the harm that makeup can do. Most American are unaware of what they are putting onto their bodies because it is so hard to understand.

“Too many consonants in one word,” says sophomore Alexa Quinn. “I don’t know how anyone understands this stuff, you really have to be a scientist to know how to buy makeup. I think the government needs to change this or regulate the use of chemicals somehow so people become aware of what they are using.”

Chemicals are a serious and potentially fatal issue that most people do not realize. It is important to know what you are using, especially on your skin since it is the largest organ in the body.

Next time you go to pick up new makeup, be sure to read the labels to try and protect yourself.

Do you really know what is in your makeup?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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