People wear makeup for lots of reasons. But, if you’re not careful, makeup can cause problems. It can irritate your skin, eyes, or both. Sometimes potentially dangerous ingredients can be absorbed through your skin.
Here’s a little information to help you keep your skin healthy while using makeup.
Harmful Side Effects Of Makeup
The makeup industry has been telling women for years how a little foundation and dash of mascara can liven up your face instantly. While that may be true, applying makeup every day can have several harmful side effects on your skin and body.
Chemicals like Diazolidinyl urea and DMDM Hydantoin, both of which tend to release formaldehyde, are a common ingredient in many cosmetic products and are used as an antimicrobial preservative. These chemicals have been known to cause headaches, irritation of the mucous membranes, and cause damage to the eyes. If you have been suffering from headaches and can’t figure out why, try going easy on the makeup for a few days to see if the headache goes away.
2. Hair Problems
With changing trends in fashion, there is also a wave of hair trends that comes along. Hair products like hair gels, hair serums, shampoos, conditioners, and hair sprays contain several harmful chemicals that set your hair the way you want but end up damaging your hair in the long run. Extensive use of chemical-based hair products could lead to dandruff, scalp redness, thinning of hair, and even loss of hair. Long term use of hair color could also lead to hair discoloration.
This is a common side effect of makeup that most women would have experienced. Your skin is as much a part of your body as any other organ. It also needs to breathe and grow. When you cover your skin with makeup, you also end up clogging it. Some types of makeup that are in the form of liquids and creams clog the pores in your skin. This leads to the formation of blackheads, which when not cleaned regularly can form acne. So make sure you clean your makeup thoroughly with a natural cleanser before going to bed.
4. Skin Allergies
Chemicals known as Parabens which include ethyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, and isopropyl-paraben are used as preservatives to prevent bacterial growth in cosmetics. Parabens can cause various allergic reactions like skin irritation, blotches, and blemishes on the skin. Another common allergen in cosmetics is Salicylate which can cause an outbreak of painful rashes or hives if you have sensitive skin. In many cases, the allergic reaction is not apparent until the symptoms become severe. Read the label for parabens before you buy it.
5. Eye Infections
Eye makeup is used extensively even by women who don’t use heavy makeup. But it’s important to remember that your eyes and the skin around them is the most sensitive area of your face. Layers of eye makeup can be damaging to your eyes as it also slips into your eyes through the corners causing irritation. Too much mascara and eyeliner inhibits the growth of eyelashes and also becomes a breeding ground for bacteria which could lead to irritations and infections.
Skincare products and deodorants are directly absorbed by your skin, so it’s very likely that the chemicals used in these products also seep into your body. A study conducted on rats found that butylparaben adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.
Though the consumers of cosmetics are majorly women, it’s still important to note the adverse effects parabens can have on the reproductive system. Parabens are widely used in the skincare industry and even products labeled natural could have parabens.
7. Premature Ageing
When you use skin products for a longer period of time, the chemicals present tend to permanently damage your skin. With time, you could begin to see skin aging signs like wrinkles or patchiness on your face and body. While makeup does help you hide or cover flaws in your skin, the long term effects could be counterproductive. Also, considering how big the anti-aging products market is, cosmetic companies have no incentive to reduce the aging effects of makeup.
8. Hormonal Imbalance
Prolonged use of cosmetics can have an impact on your endocrine system and interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Triclosan is a commonly used chemical compound and can be found in products like acne-removal scrubs and deodorants to keep them free of germs. With regular use, triclosan gets absorbed and accumulated in your body and affects the thyroid gland causing an imbalance in the hormonal secretions. This could lead to thyroid-related conditions like headaches, weight gain, and depression.
Many of the chemical-based cosmetics available in the stores today contain toxic ingredients that could cause cancer. With regulations in place, there is testing being done on the ingredients before the products can be sold. However, cosmetics companies need only to prove that there will be no immediate harmful results. So there is no conclusive research done on the long-term effects of all the ingredients. Try and avoid products with the following ingredients.
- Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol)
- Coal tar
- Untreated or mildly treated mineral oils
- Ethylene oxide
- Cadmium and its compounds
- Crystalline silica (or quartz)
10. Skin Discoloration
Skin products like sunscreens, moisturizers, toners, and creams contain agents that bleach or darken the skin. Cosmetic products that use poor quality ingredients that have not been regulated can lead to skin discoloration. The effect could be patches, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, redness, and freckles. Though your skin is meant to protect you, it is also very sensitive and needs to treated with care. So avoid using chemical products for your daily skincare routine.
Using chemical-based cosmetics regularly can have adverse effects on your skin and could even lead to permanent damage. The best way to avoid these side effects of makeup is by reducing the use of cosmetics and switching to natural or herbal products. And always remember to read the label for harmful chemicals before you buy.
How Should You Use Makeup?
The KISS rule – keep it super simple – is the best way to approach your makeup.
- Always start with a gentle face cleanser, a moisturizer, and sunscreen with an SPF 30 or more.
- Buy just a few good quality products. Rather than storing old cosmetics, use up the product, and replace it as needed.
- Read the labels. (A list of chemicals you may want to avoid is linked later in the story.) Less is often more when it comes to ingredients. Loose powder usually has fewer ingredients than liquid foundation and is less likely to irritate the skin.
- Keep skin, hands, and applicators clean. Don’t dip your fingers into containers: pour or scoop out the product with something disposable.
- Always take makeup off before you go to bed so it doesn’t clog pores and oil glands or lead to inflammation.
Take a break from makeup a couple days a week to let skin cells renew themselves and keep your skin healthy.
If your skin gets irritated or you start having eye or vision problems, stop using the product immediately. See a health care professional if it doesn’t clear up quickly.
Cosmetics get old and contaminated even with careful use. Toss your mascara after 3 months, liquid products after 6 months, and others after a year or so. Do it sooner if they start to smell or change color or texture.
Ingredients to Look for
Look for face products that include zinc oxide and have at least a 30 SPF rating. These ingredients block the sun from your skin, and that’s the best protection against skin aging. Products with these ingredients help protect against skin cancer.
A Skin Care Secret
The best ingredients for a glowing complexion are the ones you eat to keep healthy, of course. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, blueberries and tomatoes, nuts, beans and legumes, and fatty fish like salmon are all high on the anti-oxidant list for skin health.
Ingredients to Avoid
It’s a little harder to know what you should avoid. Cosmetics aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Words like “hypoallergenic” have no specific definition.
For ingredients with possible cancer risks, see the Breast Cancer Fund’s list of chemicals in cosmetics. You’ll want to ask yourself if you want chemicals like phthalates, triclosan, dioxane, ethylene oxide, butadiene, or lead on your skin.
Where to check for safety
The Environmental Working Group maintains the Skin Deep Database. You can enter the name of a product, an ingredient, or a company, and get a “hazard score” from 1 (low hazard) to 10 (high hazard). It also describes the risks and how good the evidence is.
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