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Is your beauty ritual safe?

Cosmetics

This post is also available in: Spanish

CosmeticsEvery woman loves to look good and makeup can be one of our many secret tools. The truth when it comes to beauty is that some products can cause more harm in the long run than is worth for a few hours of beauty- especially when it’s just as simple to opt for natural products. Here are a few ingredients to look out for that may be lurking in your favorite products and why you should stay away from them.

Formaldehyde: is used to help prevent bacteria from growing in water-based products and also helps make hair look and feel silky and smooth. It can be absorbed through the skin as well as inhaled during use. According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the amounts of formaldehyde found in cosmetics can cause skin reactions and rashes and it is considered to be a carcinogen by both The National Toxicology Program and The International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Phthalates: are a man-made chemical that are typically used to make plastics flexible – but they are also used to prolong scents in many products including lotions, powders, nail polishes, hair sprays and shampoos. The Breast Cancer Fund states that phthalates have been found to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to birth defects, fertility issues, asthma, obesity and even neurodevelopmental issues in newborns.

Parfums: (not to be confused with perfumes) and Fragrances are typically nothing more than a mix of chemicals. The fragrance industry is allowed to regulate itself and has no outside agency to test for safety. Many times, labels reading “fragrance” actually contain phthalates, parabens and other chemicals. Even many products labeled “unscented” are filled with masking agents that block the smell of other fragrances. Only products labeled “fragrance-free” are truly free of fragrance and parfums. The Environmental Working Group has found fragrance mixes to be associated with dermatitis, respiratory distress, allergies and even possible effects on the reproductive system.

A great way to check the safety of your products is to search for them on Skin Deep. It is a cosmetics database created by the Environmental Working Group that rates everything from sunscreen to lipstick based on what’s in it and whether it’s safe or toxic.

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