Apparently, it is actually safer to eat some of the chemicals in cosmetic products than it is to put it on your skin! When ingesting toxins, they are processed by your liver, and in some cases eliminated, whereas products you put on your skin enter the bloodstream directly and thus metabolize in your body. There are many other toxins in cosmetics in addition to lead and mercury, but for those that you mentioned, lead is a strong neurotoxin that can alter learning function and affect fertility. Mercury can adversely affect teeth and gums, as well as cause serious birth defects and alter protein function in the body.
As I mentioned, there are many other toxic chemicals in cosmetics, so it is very important to buy safe and natural products, such as those available at The Body Shop or Aveda. The links below further explore the dangers of toxins in cosmetics, and provide ample reasons for why we should modify our habits in regards to what we put on our skin.
This is all true, but I believe you asked what it does to your skin. The answer is that is seeps into your body and can cause problems with your reproductive organs, kidneys, gland and homones. It’s best to stick with organic skin care to prevent these issues (and organic sunscreens!):
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