Many cosmetics contain so many toxic ingredients it’s difficult to pick a worst offender. One look at the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database will show a whole host of highly dangerous cosmetics, containing known carcinogens, allergens, etc. You can also search the database to see which products on the market are the safest. And of course, be on the lookout for products which contain animal products or are tested on animals if you want to be green. The second link is a list of cruelty-free makeup brands.
This is an important question to ask given that 60% of the make-up you put on your face is absorbed directly into your bloodstream. The least green make-ups contain a number of toxins including parabens which act as preservatives and have been linked to estrogen-imitating endocrine distruptors implicated in carcinogenesis.
You should also look out for:
1. Mercury: A tiny amount of this potent nervous-system toxin, which accumulates in the body, is allowed as a preservative in eye-area cosmetics, such as mascara.
2. Coal-tar Colors: These chemicals are found in many “FD&C” or “D&C” colors used in makeup and hair dye. FD&C Blue 1 and FD &C Green 3 are carcinogenic, and impurities in other colors — D&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Yellow 6 — have been shown to cause cancer when applied to the skin.
3. Formaldehyde: Found in eye shadows, mascaras and nail polishes, formaldehyde is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” according to the National Toxicology Program’s “Ninth Report on Carcinogens” (January 2001). The EPA classifies it as a probable human carcinogen. In its liquid state, formaldehyde, present in the ingredients DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15, can be absorbed through the skin and nails.
Instead, look for green make-ups that are made from organic materials and are free from the chemicals listed above.
The above answers cover just about everything. I just want to add that you can go to http://www.goodguide.com/ to search for just about any makeup product and see its relative environmental impact. Good guide can help you shop more environmentally friendly 🙂
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