Thursday, 26 April 2012

Health Tip of the Week: Chemicals in Makeup Pt. 2

Mineral oil is used as an emollient to prevent water loss from skin, but can be toxic and actually dries out skin.

1-Naphthol and 2-Naphthol are coal tar derivatives used as dye intermediates. They can be absorbed through skin and are skin irritants. Oral doses larger than one teaspoon can be fatal.

Nitrosamines are a class of carcinogenic compounds that can be absorbed through skin. Nitrosamines are by-products created by the chemical reactions of many cosmetic ingredients. However, vitamins C and E act as blocking agents, inhibiting the toxic effects of nitrosamines, and some manufacturers add vitamins C and E to their products for this purpose.

P-Hydroxybenzoic Acid Benzyl Ester (PHB Esters), are widely used preservatives more commonly known as methyl paraben, propyl paraben, ethyl paraben, and butyl paraben. They are highly toxic, causing skin rashes and can behave as xenoestrogens, raising the risk of breast cancer in women and low sperm count in men.

Petrolatum (petroleum and paraffin jelly) is a type of mineral oil used in baby oil, creams, lipstick, makeup remover, and lip-gloss. This type of waxy mineral oil sits on top of the skin, clogging the pores which leads to blackheads, whiteheads, and eventually, enlarged pores.

Propylene Glycol is a petroleum derivative found in most forms of makeup and other cosmetics as a humectant (moisture retainer), surfactant (oil emulsifier), and solvent. Its industrial uses include hydraulic brake fluid and antifreeze. Surprisingly, it is an ingredient in many products claiming to be "natural." Because of Propylene Glycol's ability to quickly penetrate skin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires workers to wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles when working with this toxic chemical. The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) warn against skin contact because of possible brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. Stick deodorants have concentrations higher than most industrial applications.

Information found at

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