Seven toxic ingredients you need to banish from your makeup bag to #DitchTheJunk

Are your beauty products hiding an ugly secret? Discover seven toxic ingredients that you need to banish from your makeup bag right now to #DitchTheJunk. 

You care about your health. You eat organic food wherever possible, exercise regularly, drink in moderation, get plenty of sleep and don’t smoke. But is that enough?

We’re very familiar with the idea that we should only put healthy things into our body, but what about on it? Toxic nasties aren’t just hiding in foods, they’re also hidden in some of the everyday beauty products we put on our faces and bodies.

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It’s time to #DitchTheJunk

Breast Cancer UK are so concerned about the amount of synthetic chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products – and the impact they could be having on our health, that they’ve launched a #DitchTheJunk campaign.

And it’s worth taking action if you too are worried about toxic substances you may be unknowingly exposing your body too. A recent study, led by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, showed that we can cut the amount of chemicals in out bodies in just three days by banishing products containing them.

Seven toxic ingredients you need to banish from your makeup bag

So if you want to protect yourself, and make sure what goes on your body is as good for you as what goes in it, here are seven toxic ingredients to banish from your makeup bag – and #DitchTheJunk for good!

1) BHA and BHT

BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are synthetic preservatives which are considered to have cancerogenic properties.

Unfortunately, they can be commonly found in our favourite lipsticks, lotions, moisturisers, foundation, and concealers. They are also considered to cause potential endocrine disruption because of their ability (particularly BHT), to mimic estrogen in a woman’s body.

2) Mercury

Mercury is known to be a very toxic metal. As a result its use has been prohibited in households. But while it’s now impossible to find a light bulb with mercury, you may well find mercury in your mascara.

That’s right, toxic mercury could well be lurking in your favourite mascara and lipstick. It’s also often found in many skin-lightening products.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology warned the users of these skin-lightening products to look out for mercury. The study also talks about the potential side effects of the toxicity of mercury such as renal, neuro and gastrointestinal toxicity.

Some makeup brands try to replace mercury with equally toxic ingredients, producing just as toxic beauty products in the process. So please do beware!

3) Phthalates and Parabens

Unfortunately, both Phthalates and Parabens, considered to be highly toxic ingredients, are usually found in most of our makeup products, including nail polish, antiperspirants, and perfumes.

A study published in the Alternative Medicine Review – A Journal of Clinical Therapeutics, found a link between Phthalates and Parabens and breast cancer. And although more research needs to be done, this link alone is enough to make us check our makeup bags and eliminate any products containing these toxic ingredients.

4) Lead

A 2007 report called “A Poison Kiss” released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested a wide range of lipstick brands, and confirmed that a surprising 61% of the tested lipsticks contained a high amount of lead.

If you didn’t know, lead has been linked to a range of health concerns such as early puberty, hormonal changes, and reduced fertility. And although America’s FDA continues to deny the danger of lead in cosmetics, saying that the amount of lead in our lipsticks is insufficient to cause these problems, the risk is enough for us to cleanse our makeup bags of these products.

5) Perfume (fragrance)

The chances are that one of the reasons why you love your favourite cosmetic and beauty products isn’t just because of what they do – its how they smell. But be careful, because making up that irresistible fragrance is a cocktail of toxic chemicals.

Cosmetic manufacturers can use up to 3,000 chemicals to create the smallest makeup products. Perfume is used in almost every makeup product and makeup remover, as well as lotions, moisturisers and some of the best anti-wrinkle creams.

6) Carbon black

While carbon black has been restricted to use in the United States and Europe, it is still free to use in Canada – despite it’s potentially carcinogenic risk.

So if you are using any of the famous Canadian makeup brands, go through the products, especially the eyeliners, mascaras, blushes, foundations and lipsticks, as these are the makeup products that usually contain carbon black, and bin them.

7) Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is found in nail polish, hair dye, and hair gloss. Inhaling isopropyl alcohol can lead to paralysis of your respiratory system, and when used on the skin, it can causes a painful skin irritation.

To avoid any risk, refrain from using any makeup products that contain isopropyl alcohol, and make sure you don’t inhale it.

How safe is YOUR makeup bag?

Most of us can’t get through the day without at least one beauty product – if not a whole bag full. But how safe are the products you use?

To make sure your beauty products aren’t masking an ugly secret, go through your products and check their list of ingredients – and ditch any that are a potential health risk. And when buying new products in future, always try to check the labels before you pay – and stay beautiful and healthy!

Want to keep your body healthy? Download Breast Cancer UK’s guide to safer cosmetics here

Sophie Addison is a popular blogger and skincare expert. She is passionate about writing on skincare and beauty. She has posted articles on tips for fine lines and wrinkles, best eye creams, weight loss and fitness news. Apart from work she likes gardening and listening music. You can also contact her on Facebook, and Pinterest.