How often do you check the ingredients of the skincare or cosmetic products you buy- rarely? You’re not alone. Except for a handful of clean beauty advocates, none of us analyzes the ingredients list of the products we buy.
Many of us have unknowingly put ourselves at an increased risk of cancer for the sake of beauty. Quite shocking, isn’t it?
While products meant for daily application on the face and body are meant to be safe, it’s quite the opposite. Often, toners, moisturizers, face washes, serums, body lotions, and other products that you use are loaded with carcinogenic elements. Even makeup products like mineral powders, eyeshadows, blushes, contours, and lipsticks aren’t spared.
Though they contain these elements in low doses, it’s still a matter of concern. Little do people know that carcinogenic elements from these products get absorbed into their skin and make their way into the blood.
No wonder women using such products are at higher risk of developing cancer than non-users. That said, here’s a list of a few chemicals to steer clear of in beauty products:
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Even after being classified as cancer-causing by decades of research, formaldehyde is a common ingredient in beauty products. Besides hair straightening products, eyelash glues, nail polishes, and an array of cosmetic products contain this carcinogenic element.
A pool of researchers has found that exposure to high levels of formaldehyde can cause leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer. Many studies have found that this cancer-causing element can promote tumor formation in individuals.
Several retailers have banned cosmetic products containing formaldehyde, but there’s a catch.
Spotting the word “formaldehyde” on the ingredient list of cosmetics is unlikely because manufacturers have started using another name. Instead, they have started using names of ingredients that release formaldehyde, like bronopol, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and imidazolidinyl urea.
A few years ago, the FDA advised consumers to refrain from using talc-based cosmetic products because they tested positive for asbestos. Diving in a little deep, asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, is found near talc, which is used in mineral makeup as a smoothening agent. Even though the health risks of asbestos are well-documented, many still do not know that it causes cancer. Not just cancer, this naturally occurring mineral is regarded as an instigator of lung disease.
Among them, a lot of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder tested positive for asbestos. Around 60,000 people have sued the company claiming that its talc powder gave them ovarian cancer.
Many also blamed Johnson & Johnson’s age-old talc powder for causing mesothelioma, cancer tied to asbestos exposure. Though the average settlement for talcum powder lawsuit is yet to be decided, a survey of recent verdicts suggests that it could settle anywhere between $100,000 and $1 million.
In this regard, TorHoerman Law reports that Johnson & Johnson paid $2.12 billion to 22 women to settle their baby powder claims.
Other than baby powder, blushes, bronzers, contour powders, and eye shadows, to name a few, are beauty products packed with talc.
3. Coal Tar
Hair dyes, redness or rosacea treatment, dandruff or scalp treatment, and shampoos brim with coal tar. This by-product from coal processing is classified as a known human carcinogen by EPA, NTP, and IARC.
Over-the-counter products, including bath additives, oils, lotions, and gels, contain coal tar. What’s lesser known is that deeply pigmented lipsticks are also loaded with coal tar. Remember, the deeper the pigment, the higher the concentration of coal tar. Many eyeshadows are also heavily loaded with coal tar.
Exposure to coal tar is linked with cancers of the kidney, lungs, bladder, and digestive tract.
If you scan the ingredient list of all your beauty products, we bet you will find parabens.
Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives to keep makeup and skincare fresh and germs-free. In the cosmetic industry, parabens that are widely used are ethylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben and butylparaben.
Moisturizers, makeup, hair care products, and shaving products contain parabens. Though not all, some deodorants also contain parabens.
Numerous studies have found that parabens influence breast cell growth, increasing breast cancer risk. Parabens are believed to mimic estrogen, which ultimately increases the growth of breast cells.
Swap Your Beauty Staples to Clean Beauty Alternatives
In the pursuit of beautiful skin, you shouldn’t compromise your health.
Steer clear of products that are packed with carcinogenic elements. Other than the ones mentioned above, look out for phenacetin, benzene, mineral oils, ethylene oxide, cadmium, and its compounds and heavy metals because they are linked with cancer.
Before you order any beauty product, always check the ingredients list and do your homework. You can use online resources to review the ingredients and learn whether they are safe for use.
Switching to clean beauty alternatives may seem challenging, but remember, the benefits are plenty. Also, avoid disposing of everything in one go. Otherwise, buying clean beauty products will become financially tiring.