HomeLifestyle & CultureBeauty & FashionTop 16 Most Harmful Chemicals In Cosmetics (& Makeup) – Part III

Top 16 Most Harmful Chemicals In Cosmetics (& Makeup) – Part III

Top 16 Most Harmful Chemicals In Cosmetics (& Makeup) – Part III



9. Diethanolamine

Diethanolamine (DEA) and DEA-related ingredients are organic substances that function as emulsifiers to reduce foam and bubbles in cosmetics. Its primary role in most skincare formulation is as a pH adjuster where it is used to increase the pH of formulations. It is used in a variety of products, including

  • cosmetics
  • makeup foundations
  • fragrances
  • hair care products
  • sunscreen
  • skincare and skin cleansing.

As a chemical reaction, there may be unavoidable small amounts of the starting materials carried into the final product. These do not impact on the use and performance of the new ingredients, and the levels can be controlled during manufacturing.

There is limited information on the health effects of diethanolamine however,

  • short term inhalation exposure in human may result in irritation of the nose, eyes and throat.
  • dermal exposure may also result in skin irritation.
  • it can cause nausea, headache and vomiting when exposed to it.
  • it may affect the liver and kidneys
  • for its cancerous ability, it has not yet been clarified.




10. Fragrance

Fragrances are natural or synthetic essential oils or aroma compounds used in a wide variety of products to impart a pleasant odor, to mask the inherent smell of some ingredients, and to enhance the experience of using the product.

Research has shown that some fragrances (especially the natural ones) have the potency to satisfy emotional needs and promote wellness, freshness and cleanliness.

Consumer research has indicated that fragrance plays a key role in affecting the consumer’s preference for a given cosmetic or personal care product. As marketers well known, a specific fragrance becomes strongly linked to a product’s identity and acceptability. Just think of how many times you open and sniff a product before selecting and purchasing.

Fragrances are common ingredient in personal care products like

  • shampoos
  • soaps
  • shower gels
  • shaving creams
  • baby lotion and more

Note that, even products labelled as ‘unscented’ may contain some fragrance to mask any unpleasant smell of other ingredient.

Fragrance is also added to cleaning products like

  • fabric detergents
  • dryer sheets
  • room freshners
  • fabric softners
  • carpet freshners, etc

Because fragrances mean something that smells good in our minds, we often forget to stop and think of them as the chemicals that they are, and can therefore come with adverse effects. Exposure to fragrance or products with fragrance can cause

  • headache
  • eye, nose and throat irritation
  • nausea
  • forgetfulness
  • loss of coordination
  • respiratory and/neurotoxic symptoms.

Many fragrance ingredients are respiratory irritants which can trigger asthma attracts and aggravate sinus conditions.




11. Alcohol

Alcohol is the umbrella term for a group of liquids. Today, it is mostly commonly referred to a “ethanol” and is obtained through sugar or biomass fermentation.

Alcohol component found in cosmetic products are often regarded very skeptically. Alcohol is a possible preservatives, as there are other ingredients that fill the role.

Found in a wide range of cosmetic and makeup products, alcohol can serve different purposes.

  • has an antibacterial effect
  • dissolves fat
  • serves as a preservatives and guard against microbial contamination .
  •  has anti-inflammatory
  • has a deodorizing effect.
  • acts as a solvent to obtain water-soluble substances from plants.

Some of the common alcohol found in skincare product-list include

  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Denatured Acohol (Alcohol Denat)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Methyl Alcohol or methanol
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Cetyl, Stearyl, Cetearyl or Lanolin Alcohol

Some people have raised concerns about the adverse effect of alcohol in cosmetics and makeup products on the skin. Dehydration and infla mmation are the two things that can be the results of using or ingestion alcohol or products with alcohol.

Dehydration from alcohol can result in

  • loss of elasticity in the skin, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin.
  • dryness of skin
  • dull looking skin
  • enlarged skin pores

Dehydrated skin is a skin deprived of moisture and nutrients it needs to keep the complexion looking radiant, and youthful.

Inflammation on the other hand can results in

  • blotchiness
  • puffiness
  • acne
  • rosacea
  • increased redness or flushing of skin.

NB: These are most likely to be a result of alcohol ingestion.





12. Talc

Talc is natural mineral from the family of clay. It has been known and used as a skincare ingredient since the Antiquity. Historically, it is used for its absorbing properties.

Talc is obtained from the powdered reduction and purification of magnesium silicate, a naturally occurring crystalline mineral.

Talc is used in a wide range of cosmetic products such as

  • anti-perspirants
  • loose powders (makeup)
  • feminine hygiene products
  • baby products, etc, for multiple properties and benefits.

In cosmetics and makeup,

  • it is used for its absorbing properties and transparency.
  • it gives a soft and silky finishing to the skin
  • it dilutes pigmented products and acts as fillers.
  • it improves fragrances’ long lasting abilities.
  • it is the softest mineral on earth and is known for its ability to absorb moisture and reduce the appearance of oily skin.

Talc-based face powders and foundations “set” the foundation so that makeup stays in place, looking naturally dry instead of oily and shinny.

As researchers continue to study the link between talc and cancer, consumers are advised to protect themselves by reading cosmetic labels and using products only prescribed by an expert.

Talc in cosmetics and makeup can have unintended side effects. It may cause problem when mistakenly swallowed or inhaled.

  • it can cause redness and the sensation that something is stuck in your eye.
  • talc getting under the skin into open wounds can cause infections and inflammation.
  • inhaling talc can cause serious respiratory problems.

Most reports involve children or babies who accidentally inhale baby powder, and adults, cosmetic and makeup products – which results in coughing, trouble breathing and a burning sensation in the throat. It can also cause

  • eye irritation
  • abdominal pains
  • nausea
  • vomiting and sometimes
  • diarrhea

Repeated inhalation of talc as stated before can cause serious lung problems in adults like

  • asthma
  • bronchitis and
  • talcosis (an inflammation of the lung that can lead to stiffening or scarring of the lungs and possibly, lung failure)



Photo Credit: Google

Final Part coming right up with links to further reads.


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