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by author, natural beauty expert & cancer survivor Britta AragonRSS

Cosmetic Culprits: Are You Using These 3 Dangerous Makeup Products?

By Britta Aragon on March 3, 2010 | 2 Comments

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, is talking about food. She’s encouraging children to eat healthier, and parents to offer more nutritious meals and snacks. We have an obesity epidemic to deal with, and it’s great that we have some leadership in helping our children to overcome this dangerous trend.

Isn’t it interesting, though, that as we grow more and more conscious of the food we’re putting in our mouths, we’re still applying all kinds of chemicals to our bodies on a daily basis? The skin has the potential to absorb the toxic ingredients in those products, but many still haven’t gotten the message that what’s listed on the bottle could end up inside the body. Hopefully, Cinco Vidas readers are being more careful!

Women are especially at risk, as we use so many more products than men, particularly make-up products. Let’s talk about three of the most concerning items—these may be in your makeup bag right now.

Powders. Mineral makeup has made a big splash on the market, with manufacturer’s praising it’s even coverage and natural look. However, those in powder form come with a risk of inhalation. Particles in these products are smaller than they used to be. According to Dr. Oz, some are a thousand times smaller than they were even 10 years ago. The smaller size means a more flawless look, but it also increases the risk that these particles could penetrate the lungs, potentially causing inflammation, irritation, and even lung disease.

To lower your risk, choose a liquid-based foundation with shimmer, or a cream or mousse blush and bronzer. If you are sold on your powder, tap the excess off before applying, don’t inhale, and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated room.

Anti-Wrinkle Creams. They’re supposed to help you look younger, but be careful—some anti-wrinkle creams may help you look better today, but worse tomorrow. For example, if your formula contains petroleum-based alcohols, it could be irritating your skin, as well as removing the natural acidic layer which makes skin vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. Petroleum-based oils can clog pores and over long-term use, create dry, more wrinkle-prone skin. Mineral oil clogs pores and irritates skin, and can cause acne breakouts and premature aging. Parabens can absorb into the blood stream, and remain in the body where they can act as endocrine disruptors, while fragrances can add all kinds of unknown chemicals to your skin.

To protect yourself, look for fragrance-free and color-free formulas, and read labels. We like brands like Ren, Intelligent Nutrients, and Jeune d’age Organics.

Lip gloss. We mentioned in a previous post that lip gloss may increase your risk of skin cancer. In addition, many formulas are made with petroleum jelly, which has been banned in the European Union because of it’s potential link to cancer. Remember: What you put on your lips usually ends up in your mouth, and then inside your body, so be extra careful with this product! Stay away from brands that list petroleum jelly or mineral oils on the label, and avoid “plumping” products that actually irritate the lips to make them look larger. Choose instead formulas made with beeswax and natural flavors, and that contain a safe sun protectant like zinc oxide.

Are you purchasing your makeup products more carefully? Let us know if you have any tips.

Photo courtesy Pixels of deborah jaffe via

Posted in: Make-up, Toxic Talk and Labels

2 Comments to “Cosmetic Culprits: Are You Using These 3 Dangerous Makeup Products?”

  1. Joyce Rockwood says:

    Hello Britta,

    Could you suggest a safe liquid-based under-eye concealer?
    Using bareMinerals now & I get the feeling your post is suggesting that it’s not so safe for lungs.
    Many thanks for this great post!

  2. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi Joyce :)
    Yes I love RMS Beauty “UN”cover-up or Suki’s Correct Coverage Concealer! lmk what you think of them if you decide to try them! Thanks xoxo

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