You really shouldn’t be using banned beauty products. You’d think it would be a given not to fill your hair or slather your face with risky beauty ingredients in the name of cosmetics but think for a second. This is the beauty industry. Do makeup brands ever ban beauty ingredients that achieve good looks for their customers? Actually, some do. Governments in Canada and the European Union have tabulated a list of banned cosmetics prohibiting 1,300 ingredients. European makeup brands are learning to be creative within these limits, turning to healthier alternatives. Yet, in the United States, there are reasons to speculate whether your shampoo is actually safe to use. The FDA has only banned 11 beauty products from American shelves. You can find quite a few harmful beauty ingredients still lingering about in the cosmetic aisle.
You all know this one by smell. It’s the pungent preservative they used to keep your frog plump for dissection in biology class. This beauty ingredient is a known carcinogen, causing everything from allergic reactions to cancer. If you were a salon babe back in 2011, you may remember the Brazilian blowout controversy. Those formaldehyde levels were high enough to cause some pretty ugly rashes and the company got away with advertising their product as “formaldehyde-free” for months before they got caught. You may want to give beauty products a sniff before you try them. It’s the least you can do.
Did you ever consider slathering gasoline on your face as a new skin care technique? Using face creams containing petroleum is a water-down version of that. While many petroleum-derived ingredients are very good at keeping skin moisturized and smooth, too much exposure can be extremely harmful. If you get one of those salon paraffin treatments once a month, there’s no reason for alarm. Experts say you need be wary only if you indulge in petroleum-based treats on a weekly basis.
TRIPHENYL PHOSPHATE (TPHP)
It’s hard to see why some of the beauty products banned in Europe pose a threat to your health. Take TPHP, for example. This little beauty ingredient makes nail polish adhere to your nails and stay flexible as they grow during the week. There is also sizeable proof it can disrupt hormones in the human body if worn and reapplied for too long a period. To avoid this risk, only use nail polishes labeled “three-free.”
European makeup brands may have gotten this one wrong. A study in Europe found parabens in breast cancer tissue and used this finding to conclude that a build-up of this beauty ingredient can cause reduced fertility. However, it is questionable whether the study is accurate. Many companies in Europe wish beauty products with this ingredient had not ended up on the list of banned cosmetics until further studies were completed. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.
This family of banned beauty ingredients is restricted in Europe for possible links to cancer. This is another ban that needs a few more test runs to clarify exactly what hormonal disruptions can be caused by phthalates. It is prevalent in skin care and nail polish to keep products flexible. I wouldn’t warn too strongly against beauty products containing these ingredients, but be cautious if you use such products on a daily basis.
Every country should know the dangers of face creams that contain mercury, but it doesn’t stop American companies from subtly slipping the ingredient into their beauty products. Mercury is a toxin and can cause imbalances throughout the human body if absorbed in any quantity. It’s very hard to track this beauty ingredient as it is easily brought in from foreign hotels or cream imports. The best way to steer clear is to be sure you know where your creams come from and track any physiological changes that seem abnormal.
Banned beauty products are full of questionable ingredients, but they aren’t the only creams that pose chemical risks. Sunscreen will keep the sun from giving you skin cancer, but its ingredients often cause other internal damage. Avobenzone is one of these harmful ingredients. The element is very unstable and can cause free radical damage. In layman’s terms, this means cell damage, early aging, and in extreme cases, cancer. You can find sunscreens that do not contain Avobenzone. Buy one of those.
— Julie Grossman