Breakup with Makeup: The Truth About Harmful Side Effects of Cosmetic Products

Updated on February 17th, 2020
mackeup sideeffects

Cosmetic products have always been a hot favorite with the youth and the young at heart. But there’s more to makeup than you can imagine. The side effects of makeup powder can make a difference in your health in ways you will find disturbing.

Chemicals present in composition such as lip gloss, eyeliners, foundation, mascara, and even the eternal favorite, the lipstick, will leave you worried and concerned. But if you think nothing is alarming about the toxins(1) in your makeup kit, read on to know why it can be harmful to you.

Why is Makeup Harmful?

1. Headaches

Headache Relief
Image: ShutterStock

Chemicals such as DMDM Hydantoin and Diazolidinyl tend to release dangerous substances like formaldehyde(2). This common ingredient in makeup is also an antimicrobial preservative to prolong the shelf life of your cosmetics. Such chemicals irritate the mucous membrane and damage to the eyesight. If you suffer from headaches, and cannot understand why it is happening, check and see if your foundation or eyeliner is the culprit by going makeup-free and observing the effects.

[Read: Massage to Relieve Headache]

2. Hair Loss

With changing trends, there’s a wave of new hair care and treatment methods available. Hair products such as hair gels, shampoos, conditioners, hair serums, and hair sprays contain harmful chemicals that set hair the way one wants but damage them in the long run. Excessive use of chemical-based hair products triggers dandruff, hair thinning, scalp redness, and hair loss. Long term use of coloring can also trigger hair discoloration.

3. Acne and Pimples

side effects of makeup Acne

A common side effect of makeup experienced by most women is acne and pimples. The skin remains an integral part of the body, much like any other organ. It also works to grow and breathe. When the surface is covered with makeup, it can clog the pores. Certain types of makeup that include creams and liquids clog, therefore, cause acne. Blackheads may also form as a result of makeup issues.

[Read: Supplements For Acne Treatment]

4. Skin Reaction

Chemicals such as parabens include ethylparaben, isopropyl paraben, and butylparaben. These serve as preservatives to prevent cosmetics from bacterial growth. Parabens can cause skin irritation, blotches, and blemishes. Another common cosmetics allergen(3) is Salicylate. It leads to rashes or hives when you have sensitive skin. Allergic reactions are not apparent until symptoms worsen. Always check for parabens before making the purchase.

5. Eye Problems & Infections

cator oil for eyes
Image: ShutterStock

Even using your favorite eyeliner or mascara can have severe consequences. Eye makeup is also used when women don’t opt for a lot of cosmetics. Yet, even this is dangerous. The reason is that eyes and skin around them form the sensitive area of the face. Eye makeup layers can damage the eye, slipping into the corner, irritating the painful area. Excessive eyeliner and mascara inhibit eyelashes from growing and also trigger bacterial infections. Further, they cause eye irritation.

6. Infertility

Skincare products and deodorants are other problems. As the product is absorbed within skin layers, chemicals sink deep into the body. Research shows butyl parabens impact male fertility and testosterone production. While cosmetic consumers are chiefly women, it is essential to note the adverse impact of parabens on the reproductive system. Parabens are used in the skincare industry, and even products labeled natural are said to have this.

7. Early Aging

Early Aging 

Ironically, the very products you seek to use to save your skin and reclaim youth could have the opposite effect. When skincare products are used for a long time, chemicals cause permanent damage to the surface. In time, the skin develops aging signals such as patches and wrinkles. Makeup may hide skin imperfections in the short-term. But they can prove counterproductive in the long run. Big cosmetic companies have made no effort to reduce premature aging effects of makeup.

8. Hormonal Imbalance

Prolonged usage of cosmetics impacts the endocrine system and interfere with thyroid functions. A chemical compound, triclosan, is used to keep scrubs and deodorants germ-free. With regular usage, this chemical seeps into the body. It impacts the thyroid gland. The reason for this is that it causes an imbalance in hormones secreted by the endocrine glands. The effect is wide-ranging, from depression to headaches and weight gain.

[ Read: Look Beautiful Without Makeup ]

9. Cancer

Many chemical-based cosmetics contain toxic ingredients leading to disease. With rules in place, components need to be tested before the product can be sold. Cosmetic companies only prove immediate side effects are not there. Makeup is not verified for long-term results. No longitudinal studies are done on the harmful effects of composition.

Cancer Causing chemicals are listed in the table below:

Cadmium and its compounds
Chromium & Arsenic
Ethylene oxide
Non-treated or mildly treated mineral oils
Coal tar
Crystalline silica/Quartz
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (DMDM hydantoin, 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol, quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl urea, and imidazolidinyl urea)

Bleach the skin. Cosmetic products, including low-quality, nonregulated ingredients, can discolor your skin. The effect could include hyperpigmentation, unevenness of the skin tone, patches, freckles, and redness. While the skin is meant to protect you, it is sensitive and needs to be treated carefully. Avoid chemical products in your daily makeup and skincare routine.

[Read: Allergic to Your Cosmetics? ]

Chemical Composition of Makeup Products

  • Carbon Black
  • Benzalkonium chloride (BAK)
  • Ethanolamine compounds
  • Prime yellow carnauba wax
  • Formaldehyde & formaldehyde-releasing additives
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Parabens
  • Aluminum powder
  • Heavy metals (nickel and chrome)
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Butylparaben, Propylparaben, and Ethylparaben
  • Synthetic Dyes
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Thimerosal
  • Retinyl Acetate
  • Coal Tar Dyes
  • Aluminum Powder
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methylparaben
  • Lead
  • Propylparaben
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Phthalates
  • Lead
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • BHUT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
  • Bronopol
  • Sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  •  Methenamine
  • Quaternium-18, Quarternium-15, Quaternium-26
  • Butylated compounds like BHA and BHT
  • Parabens
Eye Shadow 
  • Petroleum/Paraffin/Mineral Oil
  • Bismuth Oxychloride
  • Aluminum Powder
  • Nano Particles
  • Talc

Best Natural Alternatives to Makeup Products

Cosmetic Version Natural Alternative
Anti-aging makeup cream
  • Dry Skin Brushing
  • Coconut Oil
  • Antioxidants
Cellulite creams
  • Coffee-cellophane wrap
  • Dry Skin Brushing
Exfoliant and Body Scrubs
  • Epsom salts
  • Baking soda
Lip Gloss/Lipstick
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Homemade Cream
  • Jojoba and Essential Oils
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Fresh beet juice
  • Natural powdered hibiscus

So, get moving and stock up on natural or herbal products instead of resorting to artificial makeup. Beauty may actually lie in the eyes of the beholder, but you need to ensure you don’t succumb to chemical cocktails. So, toss out that lip gloss and break up with makeup. It’s time to go 100% natural!

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