The Ultimate List of Makeup Chemicals You Should Avoid

Makeup is a quick and dependable way to transform ourselves. When used to its best advantage, it gives us access to so much self-confidence and self-expression!

Whether you love the natural look or something more theatrical, or anything in between, you should know that it’s important to understand the ingredients that are in your makeup. Some are healthier than others, and a lot of people who wear makeup don’t realize that some makeup ingredients are actually harmful.

If they did understand, they’d probably choose makeup formulas which don’t have certain additives and ingredients.

Today, we’d like to empower you by sharing the ultimate list of makeup chemicals that you should avoid. Once you’ve learned which ingredients are bad for your skin and/or general health, you’ll be ready to shop for cosmetics which are purer and healthier. These days, there are lots of exciting cosmetics lines which offer products that are free of these harmful chemicals. For example, you’re not going to find these chemicals in cosmetics which are organic.

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

These types of preservatives do not have a good reputation and, unfortunately, they are found in a lot of cosmetic lines. When checking product ingredients, keep an eye out for these formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, methenamine, Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM hydantoin and quaternium-15.

You should avoid all of these chemicals as they are known to release minimal amounts of formaldehyde in a slow and consistent manner. Formaldehyde is linked to cancer. Regarding how formaldehyde in makeup can hurt you, it may in inhaled when it is off-gassed from makeup products. It may also be absorbed via the epidermis (the uppermost layer of skin).


These are very common in cosmetics, and more and more people are becoming aware of just how detrimental parabens actually are. You may also find them in perfumes and other scented products. The truth is that most manufacturers of cosmetics are well aware of the bad reputation of parabens, so they don’t list them on their product labels. The safest strategy is to choose products and scents which are marketed as being paraben-free. At present, it’s estimated that more than seventy-five percent of makeup products contain minimal levels of parabens.

Unfortunately, these parabens may infiltrate our bodies via our largest organ – the skin. Parabens have been proven to disturb the function of our hormones. For example, they tend to act in the human body the way that estrogen does. As well, parabens are linked to the development of breast cancer. Also, they may negative impact male reproductive functions.


Did you know that thousands of chemicals are utilized to make fragrances? The fragrance is found in so many cosmetics, skin care products and scented personal care items. The sad truth is that many products which are labeled as being free of fragrance (i.e. unscented) actually do contain fragrance chemicals, as well as masking agents who stop our brains from detecting their odors!

Certain ingredients are even perfumes. Instead, they are chemicals that make perfuming chemicals more noticeable. One chemical of the parfum type which should be avoided is diethyl phthalate. It’s also known as DEP, and it’s found in many cosmetics. It’s a masking agent type of parfum chemical, and it’s believed to alter the function of hormones. For example, phthalates may bring on puberty earlier in females and may decrease sperm count in males.

Even parfum ingredients which aren’t linked with altering hormone function may wreak havoc, by triggering allergic reactions, causing headaches and aggravating asthma.

PEG Compounds

PEG stands for polyethylene glycol, and it’s a compound which has a petroleum base. You’ll find PEG compounds in a host of makeup products. They are often utilized to thicken, soften or carry moisture. They may also be utilized as solvents.

Quite often, PEG compounds make up the creamier base of cosmetics. How harmful these compounds really depend on how they were processed. Some PEGs are known to feature quantities of ethylene oxide, as well as 1,4-dioxane. These chemicals may be carcinogenic (contribute to the development of cancer). They may also be irritating to the skin.


Petroleum jelly is a petrolatum. It’s a mineral oil jelly which is utilized as a barrier which seals in moisture. You’ll find it in cosmetics, and some women also apply it on top of cosmetics to access added shine. Cosmetics ingredients which contain petrolatum may also contain PAHs, and this stands for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Some people feel that PAH exposure contributes to the development of cancer. For example, the EU (European Union) considers this common cosmetic ingredient to be carcinogenic and has restrictions in place regarding how it may be utilized in the production of makeup.

The skin may be irritated by this ingredient, and allergic reactions may also occur.


Siloxanes are compounds which have a silicone base, and they are common ingredients in makeup products. In general, they are utilized to make the skin softer and/or smoother. They are also known to add moisture. Regarding potential harm, two chemicals which are classified as Siloxanes (Cyclopentasiloxane and cyclotetrasiloxane) are considered to be toxins. They may be referred to as D4 and D5, respectively, and they are believed to disrupt the function of the endocrine system, via interference in hormone activity.

As well, they may negatively impact fertility.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Another common cosmetic chemical to avoid is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. While it’s more common in skin and care hair products that foam up, it’s also found in a lot of makeup products. If is not processed with care, this chemical may contain quantities of 1,4 dioxane and ethylene oxide. One of these compounds is known to be carcinogenic (ethylene oxide), while the other is believed to be carcinogenic. As well, 1,4 dioxane tends to hang around environments for a long time after it’s released into the environment via cosmetics or other skin/hair care products. Also, you should know that Sodium laurel sulfate may make your eyes or skin irritated.


Triclosan is a common cosmetic ingredient which isn’t good for our planet. It’s found in some makeup products and, when makeup is taken off and rinsed down drains, Triclosan goes into waterways, where it may harm marine life, including fish and plants.

Also, it may not be too good for human beings. It’s considered to be potentially irritating to the lungs, eyes, and skin and it may disrupt endocrine function. As well, it may contribute to thetoxicity of organ systems which aren’t reproductive.

Usually, this ingredient is added to cosmetics and other personal care items due to its germ-resisting properties.


This chemical may contribute to cancer development, and it’s found in a lot of makeup products, including lip balms and nail enamels. It’s used to keep cosmetics and nail polishes from breaking down when they are exposed to ultraviolet light.

This type of preservative is best avoided. It’s better to find natural cosmetics which contain only organic and pure ingredients. While some organic makeup may cost a bit more, it’s worth it, because you’ll be able to use it without the risk that putting carcinogens onto your skin brings.

It’s important to understand that cancer-causing chemicals are quite prevalent in a host of cosmetics. Benzophenone is one of them. If you apply a lip balm with this chemical in it many times per day, it may be time to find a healthier substitute. They are safer ways to keep your lips soft and cared-for.

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