Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Beauty Cheat Sheet: Common Ingredients to Avoid

Is your makeup good enough to EAT?

Products: Burberry Sheer Foundation Trench No. 5 & Trench No. 7

The truth is, probably not. 

Many products ranging from baby shampoo to anti-aging treatments are filled with doses of harmful chemicals designed for various reasons, reasons as trivial as cheaply increasing lather, or adding fragrance. Awareness of the dangers of these products is slowly climbing, finally causing large brands to begin to eliminate them from their products. Nobody is perfect, and it is difficult to avoid all of these chemicals (much of the makeup in my kit unfortunately contains at least a few) as they are present in so many products right now, but it is important to be informed and try to avoid them as much as possible.

Beauty Cheat Sheet: Common Chemicals to Avoid

Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl): 

Function - Preservative and anti-bacterial agent. 
Present in - Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels.
Health concerns - May alter hormone levels, possibly increasing risk for certain types of cancer, impaired fertility, or alteration of the development of a fetus or young child; studies have found parabens in breast tumors; probable skin toxicant; animal studies show brain and nervous system effects.

Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate): 

Function - Surfactant, penetration enhancer.
Present in - Many cosmetics and personal care products (soaps etc.), read labels.
Health concerns - Alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deep into the skin, increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream; Irritant; animal studies show sense organ effects.

Aluminum Zinchronium/other Aluminum Compounds:

Function - Used to control sweat and odor in the underarms by slowing down the production of sweat.
Present in - Antiperspirants.
Health concerns - Linked to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease; may be linked to breast cancer; probable neurotoxin; possible nervous system, respiratory, and developmental toxin.


Function - Fragrance ingredient, plasticizer, solvent.
Present in - Many cosmetics and personal care products, read labels.
Health concerns - Immune system toxicant; developmental and reproductive toxin; respiratory toxicant; probable neurotoxin; possible carcinogen and endocrine disruptor; bio-accumulative in wildlife


Function - Absorbs moisture, anti-caking agent, bulking agent.
Present in - Blush, powder, eye shadow, baby powder, deodorant.
Health concerns - Carcinogen; link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer; talc particles are similar to asbestos particles and data suggests that it can cause tumors in the lungs; probable respiratory toxin.

Many of these chemicals, as written above, apart from their negative health effects, damage the skin, triggering premature aging and other visible effects.

Begin by visiting The Skin Deep Cosmetic Database – this site breaks down the ingredients of over 65,000 products as well as tips and information on safe cosmetics. I strongly recommend taking a look. 

RESEARCHING and READING THE LABEL of products before purchasing them. Your skin and body will thank you!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for other posts please comment below!

*Data courtesy of Teens Turning GreenThough it does not include all chemicals, for a more complete list and tips it is quite informative.
*I currently have no affiliation with either Skin Deep or Teens Turning Green, they are simply extremely informative and helpful websites found through extensive research.

xo The Citizen
Art & Photography by The Citizen


  1. Great post and I love the photo! I've been avoiding cosmetics with the rubbish ingredients for the last few years. x

  2. Thanks! Its great you have been able to do that! Stay tuned, there will be a post soon on some recommended products "sans rubbish". Let me know if you recommend any as well, I may include them!