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Harmful ingredients in cosmetics affect health

The production and sales of cosmetics is a rapidly growing industry in recent years. Although currently cosmetic production technology has improved significantly and especially focuses on using safe natural ingredients, many products still contain lead, mercury and other harmful chemicals.

You should know the following information about some of the harmful chemicals and check carefully before buying any cosmetics.

Lead acetate

Lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause nerve toxicity and organ damage. It is also one of the causes of cancer. Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for children.

Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued some regulations on lead content in some dyes, there is no strict regulation on lead content in other cosmetics. like lipstick. Many imported lipsticks also contain high levels of lead. To ensure safety, do not let children come into contact with these cosmetics.


Mercury compounds

The FDA has enacted laws governing the use of mercury compounds as preservatives in eyeshadows and other eye makeup products. Some skin whitening creams may also contain residual mercury.

Mercury is a very toxic ingredient that can be absorbed through the skin and cause brain damage. There is also some controversial scientific evidence linking mercury exposure and autism in children.


Triclosan is a common ingredient in a number of cosmetic products with antibacterial activity such as soaps, body lotions, and toothpastes. The overuse of triclosan in many products is believed to be one of the reasons for the increase in the number of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Triclosan was once considered safe for humans, but the FDA is now reviewing studies in animal models that demonstrate harmful effects of triclosan such as altering hormone levels in the body. on fertility, child development and cancer risk.


Formaldehyde is known to be a potentially carcinogenic substance at low concentrations, however it is the most commonly used chemical for the purpose of preserving corpses. High concentrations of formaldehyde can irritate the skin and aggravate asthma attacks. 

In particular, formaldehyde is also used in some cosmetic products such as nail hardeners. A note when using cosmetics containing formaldehyde is to use it in a well-ventilated room and keep it out of reach of children.



1,4-dioxane is a chemical by-product found in low concentrations in some cosmetics. 1,4-dioxan is capable of causing cancer in mice, and extremely high doses also damage organ systems in the human body.

The FDA has stated that the concentrations of 1,4-dioxane present in cosmetics are within safe limits for humans, but the chemical's health effects are not fully understood.

Avoid using products that contain ingredients such as: PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, and polyoxynolethylene, so you can minimize your exposure to 1,4-dioxane.

Coal Tar (coal tar, tar)

As an ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos, hair dyes, and psoriasis products, coal tar is a probable human carcinogen. Exposure to coal tar increases the risk of cancer by damaging the structure of DNA in cells. Coal tar also makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight, making the skin more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. We should be very cautious when using products containing coal tar or preferably not at all.


Diethanolamine (DEA) is a compound commonly found in shampoos, body creams, and other cosmetics as an emulsifier and foaming agent.

There are several sources of information suggesting that DEA is a potential carcinogen. Although animal model studies by the US Department of Health and Human Services have not shown that DEA can stimulate tumor formation, the overall results are still inconclusive. DEA is not currently classified as a carcinogen, but we should still use extreme caution when using products containing this substance.

Phthalate compounds

Dibutylphthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP), and diethylphthalate (DEP) belong to the same group of phthalate compounds: a group of common auxiliaries used in hairspray, nail polish, soap, shampoo, and perfume.

According to the FDA, levels of phthalate compounds in cosmetics are within safe limits for humans, but some people still believe that exposure to phthalates can cause health risks such as negative effects. to the fetus in the womb. Most cosmetic products clearly list all ingredients on the packaging except for perfume, which is also a product that may contain phthalates.

How to avoid using cosmetics containing dangerous substances mentioned above

It is quite difficult to completely avoid using cosmetics containing chemicals that are not safe for health because there are many cosmetic products from thousands of companies that we cannot know in advance. their quality.

In addition, some results from scientific studies are based on cases of exposure to extremely high doses of chemicals that in fact will rarely affect consumers' health if the concentrations are high. within allowable limits.

Therefore, the best advice for women who love to use cosmetics is to choose products from reputable and reputable companies that you trust. At the same time, you should carefully read product labels and ingredients in cosmetics to decide on product choices.

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