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Make It Up Monday - The 5 Most Common Toxins You Might Find in Your Makeup Case

5 Common Toxins in Makeup

3 min read

Posted by Heather Coopersmith on October 17, 2016

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month in mind, I wanted to address some of the more potentially harmful aspects to beauty, most specifically the carcinogens in our makeup. Please understand, there is no judgement on this issue, just a desire to observe and offer some insight. This is for the sake of knowledge and we can all benefit from being informed. Cancer affects us all and hopefully one day soon it will finally be eradicated.

An incredible and puzzling truth is that the U.S. allows many synthetic chemicals into our personal care products even if these ingredients are linked to cancer or birth defects. Here are a few examples of what to look for in your own makeup drawers.

5 Most Common Toxins

1. Phthalates are found in nail polish and some synthetic fragrances. Exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls and a risk factor for breast cancer later in life.

2. Triclosan is used to limit the growth of bacteria and mold and found in some antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes. It's classified as a pesticide and can impact hormone levels especially the thyroid which regulates metabolism.

3. Parabens are used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions and some cosmetics including some deodorants. Please consider going Paraben FREE!!

4. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are found naturally in coal, crude oil and gasoline. They have been found in some cosmetics and shampoos under the coal tar description and have shown an increase risk for breast cancer.

5. Lead may be an ingredient found in over 650 cosmetic products, including sunscreens, foundation, nail polish, lipsticks and whitening toothpaste. This is a known neurotoxin linked to learning, language and behavioral problems. It also in linked to reduced fertility in men and women as well as delayed onset of puberty in girls.

These are just 5, the most common, in a world of toxins.

As skin is our largest organ and the goal would be to protect it however possible. If you ever have any question about what's in your makeup or beauty products, EWG.org (Environmental Working Group) is a great resource, check out their mission statement is below.

It's our mission at Environmental Working Group to use the power of information to protect human health and the environment. EWG's Skin Deep database gives you practical solutions to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals. We launched Skin Deep in 2004 to create online profiles for cosmetics and personal care products and their potential hazards and health concerns. Our aim is to fill in where industry and government leave off. Companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish. The U.S. government doesn't review the safety of products before they're sold. Our staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. Now in its eighth year, EWG's Skin Deep database provides you with easy-to-navigate ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market.

Empowering our journey with knowledge is a proactive step we can all embrace. If just one person is impacted by this information, then a whole community may, just may become informed. I know we can easily get sucked into the glitz and the glamour of what’s in the magazines or on TV but we still have a choice!

Here are some of my favorite natural choices for makeup lines:100% Pure,RMS Beauty,Dr. Hauschka andJosie Maran.

Heather Coopersmith

Heather Coopersmith

With almost two decades as a professional makeup artist working on film projects, tv shows, photo shoots and weddings, LA based Heather Coopersmith brings some serious skills and knowledge to the Glad Lash Blog with her guest posts. Heather sees her art (and her hair!) as a creative outlet, and says "My world is a visual experience and I want to make you a part of it!" We're super excited to have Heather brightening up our world. You can reach out to Heather on Instagram @makeupthebride


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