Do Cosmetics Ruin Your Health?

At first it was difficult for me to pursue this subject and write a post on it because I wear makeup everyday and use products on myself that I’m afraid would negatively affect my health and natural skin. I was afraid to come across something that would persuade me to consider not wearing makeup anymore. I mean, realistically speaking, everyone is exposed to different chemicals everyday, whether that’s coming from the air that we inhale, the water that we drink, even through the foods that we eat. So it’s not surprising when people talk about how harmful the chemicals in our everyday products, such as the ones found in our vanity. The following video explains how our cosmetic products have gained a more toxic status in our society.

this picture shows different cosmetic products and their brand names associated with the type of ingredients that could potential alter the user's health in a negative way

this picture shows different cosmetic products and their brand names associated with the type of ingredients that could potential alter the user’s health in a negative way

I looked into a source that I found online, (it links to a PDF and will automatically download if you click the hyperlink) one of the studies mentioned in this article was through Contact Dermatitis. They found 88 eye shadow colors from 49 different cosmetic products that contained lead, cobalt, nickel, chromium, and arsenic. The article explained (page 7) that 61% of the 33 brands of lip products that this company researched, contained lead. According to an Environmental Working Group analysis, 146 (and more) cosmetic ingredients contained possible impurities that have been linked to cancer and many other serious health defects. 80% of 9,747 personal care products that were studied, contained contaminated ingredients, mostly found in lip balms (80%).


The heavy metals that are found in our cosmetic products seem harmless at first, if you use a small dose of it. However, they are said to be able to build up in your body over time and are known to cause health problems (page 19) such as:

  • cancer
  • reproductive and developmental disorders
  • neurological problems
  • memory loss
  • mood swings
  • nerve, joint and muscle disorders
  • cardiovascular problems
  • skeletal problems
  • blood problems
  • immune system
  • kidney and renal problems
  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • lung damage
  • contact dermatitis
  • hair loss

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, preservatives and parabens (such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben) are used in our cosmetics. Why? Because preservatives are mainly used to (ironically) protect consumers against microbial growth. According to the article, a study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2004 detected traces of parabens in breast tumors. Which doesn’t necessarily prove anything because the study did not have a control group of possible paraben levels in normal tissue rather than a contaminated one. There are plenty of unanswered questions such as: Do parabens cause cancer? Are they harmful to our bodies? Although those questions have yet to have scientific proof behind them, I’d say it would be safe to avoid parabens as much as possible, if possible. 

I’ve looked at plenty of websites to see if the impurities in cosmetics affect one race more than another. No studies were made to test that hypothesis. However, if I had to make a guess it would be that everyone is affected by these chemicals just as equally because the chemicals seep into your body. However, maybe some immune systems can fight off those chemicals more? Further research has to be done to prove anything.

Judging by the research that I have done, I would limit my makeup use. It’s really not too bad if I walk out of the house every morning with a clean and fresh face, I mean, if it were to protect myself against all the heavy metals and toxic chemicals that are found in my products, I would take that extra step to not cake foundation on my face daily.

1 thought on “Do Cosmetics Ruin Your Health?

  1. Alexandra Herr

    This blog post was interesting to me because I am a female that happens to wear cosmetic products on a daily basis. I remember learning about this subject in a biology class my freshman year and watching a video that showed tiny creatures that live and thrive in mascara tubes and lashes. This greatly disturbed me but I continued to wear the products anyways. Everyone was doing it, so we’d all be in it together, I thought. Something that might have been appropriate to address in this blog is how severe the risks or chances of harm actually are. Makeup dates back to the Egyptians (thousands of years ago). The difference between the makeup then and now is how natural is was and how chemically created it now is. If we reverted back to the past and created our products with health in mind, I don’t think we would be having this problem. However, beauty is an expanding subject and will continue to expand until it explodes. The market is competitive and the makers must be losing sight of the major issues they are creating.

    I really enjoy the setup/layout you used for the blog post. The video was a create and unique way to introduce the subject. The italicized list was also a great contribution to stress the health problems. I hope people reading this will stop and consider the harmful products they are putting on their face–I know I will.

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