Regarding chemicals in cosmetics, skin care products to watch out for


Taking care of our skin is vital, but making sure what we put on it is completely safe is even more important.

Nowadays, fashionable cosmetics and skin care products are not lacking and attract people’s attention as the best thing to do. While there is nothing wrong with using products to keep our skin hydrated and fresh, people should also be aware of some potentially harmful ingredients that can lurk in plain sight.

Here are some of the chemicals you might want to watch out for in beauty products. (Courtesy: Integris Health and Choice)

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

More commonly known as “eternal chemicals”, PFAS are primarily used in makeup and anti-aging products. Studies on PFAS have suggested possible health effects from high exposure to PFAS, including increased cholesterol levels, changes in liver enzymes, and an increased risk of high blood pressure or preeclampsia in pregnant women.

“Although it is difficult to show that the substances directly cause health problems in humans, scientific studies have shown that exposure to certain PFASs in the environment may be linked to adverse health effects in humans. humans and animals,” noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Further research is needed to better understand the health effects of PFAS exposure.”

Names to look for on the packaging of your skincare products – polytetrafluoroethylene, perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane, perfluorononyl dimethicone, perfluorodecalin and perfluorohexane.


It may surprise some people, but some products such as medications, cosmetics, and even body washes may contain formaldehyde to inhibit the growth of germs. It is a colorless, flammable gas, and exposure to it can have adverse health effects.

Although low levels of exposure are not considered dangerous, high levels of exposure to formaldehyde, “especially in cosmetics”, can cause problems such as skin sensitization, asthma and breathing difficulties, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Besides formaldehyde itself, other chemicals also eventually release the chemical as a “donor”. This includes quaternium-15, DMDM ​​hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, and bromopol.


Some cosmetics contain heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury. Some of them, however, are not added intentionally. In many cases, metals are a byproduct of other ingredients.

Previously, the FDA warned against the use of skin creams, soaps, lotions, and other products containing mercury. The element is commonly found in products marketed as skin lighteners and those with anti-aging properties to remove wrinkles and freckles. Some products are also sold as acne treatments.

Mercury exposure can have “serious health consequences,” according to the FDA. And, even people around the person using such products can be exposed to them via the vapors. Pregnant women and their babies are particularly vulnerable to mercury toxicity.

Some symptoms of mercury poisoning can include memory problems, depression, irritability, tremors, and numbness around the hands, feet, or mouth. Ingredient names to look for include mercury, mercurous chloride, calomel, and mercury.

Other chemicals that can be found in cosmetics include phthalates, parabens, and butyl compounds, which are believed to be endocrine disruptors. Carbon black, found in makeup products such as eyeliner, mascara and lipstick, is believed to be a possible carcinogen, while some fragrances added to products can also cause skin irritation.

Knowing that the cosmetics and skin care products that we use may contain these ingredients does not mean that we should be afraid to use them, since taking care of our skin is an important part of health, being the largest organ in the body.

However, being aware of what is in the products we choose to use can help us make better choices for taking care of our skin without affecting our health.

“Regardless of your skin tone, it’s important to use products that will help your skin and not harm it,” the FDA said.


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