Chemicals Of Concern In Cosmetics

Pink Make-up smudges

THE effects of the ingredients and chemicals found in beauty products can be more than just skin-deep. Shampoos, make-up, lotions, perfumes and other cosmetics in stores today can contain ingredients linked to breast cancer, infertility, birth defects and other health problems. The cosmetics industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products that could have negative side effects, but by educating yourself you can avoid these harmful chemicals. Here’s what to watch out for on your next shopping trip.

Pink Smudges Lipstick



Found In: Creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants.

PARABENS are a group of compounds that are used as a preservative, an anti –microbial and an anti -fungal agent. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumours.


Found In: Antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mould.

TRICLOSAN is classified as a pesticide and can affect the body’s hormone systems – especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism and may disrupt normal breast development. Widespread use of triclosan may also contribute to bacterial resistance to anti -microbial agents.


Found In: Nail polish and in synthetic fragrance, such as perfumes, cosmetics and personal care products.

PHTHALATES are hormone disrupting chemicals. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Somephthalates also act as weak oestrogen in cell culture systems.


Found In: Sunscreens, foundation, nail colours, lipsticks and whitening toothpaste.

LEAD is a proven neurotoxin, linked to learning, language and behavioural problems. It has also been linked to miscarriages, reduced fertility in men and women and delays in puberty onset in girls.


Found In: Shaving creams, spray sunscreens and foundations and anti -fungal treatments.

EXPOSURE occurs mainly through inhalation. This chemical has been found to increase mammary tumours in rodents.


TIP: USE fewer products with simpler ingredients. Some beauty products contain chemicals that increase breast cancer risk. Ask yourself which products you can do without, since the best way to avoid chemicals is to use fewer products. Each product you cut from your beauty ritual decreases the number and quantity of chemicals to which you’re exposed.