Wearing makeup is like eating it… sorta, bear with me. If you consider that your skin is the largest organ in or on your body and whatever you put on it will subsequently end up in your body, you can essentially say my shampoo and conditioner were the first things I had this morning, topped off with coffee of course, or you could look at this way:

“Our skin, the largest eliminatory organ in the body and our first line of immunity, is permeable to all chemicals. Medical research shows that significant amounts of cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogenic substances, penetrate the skin and end up in the blood stream. Many chemicals in cosmetics don’t cause obvious signs of toxicity on the skin but slowly poison us thorough repeated use.” –EcoVoice.com

However you choose to look at it, you may find that bat poop in mascara of fish scales in lipstick are not the most alarming ingredients in your makeup. Consider this, if something such as birth control can be administered topically through a patch, and is proven to be more potent and effective than oral medication, why would makeup be any less easily absorbed by the skin? The difference between prescriptions and makeup is the fact that makeup manufactures virtually have free reign while pharmaceutical companies are monitored heavily.  In makeup there are only nine banned chemicals, according to Renee Szudy, the health and body care manager at the Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli in Minneapolis, “The rules are that any chemical that was created before the 1970’s is grandfathered in and never needs to be tested,” she said. “Really the incentive is to use the old chemicals and not use newer, safer chemicals.”  To boot The Cosmetic Review ingredient panel sponsored by the FDA is funded by the cosmetic industry, that’s a revolving door if I ever saw one.

The idea that women would subject themselves to danger for beauty is not new, we’ve all heard the saying “beauty is pain,” it’s a transcendent idea throughout history.  Just look back through the decades, during the Victorian era women would use an arsenic compound to whiten their faces, foot binding, lead based cosmetics, which according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is not isolated to the Tudor era, after a recent study prompted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the FDA found that several national brands tested positive for lead in lipstick. Not to mention the tanning craze or plastic surgery frenzy to name a few.

I love makeup, I buy more than I will ever use and I am guilty of “what you don’t know won’t hurt you,” but unfortunately for me I have a compulsion to read labels and when I notice bismuth oxychloride is in my  mascara I wonder why and how it even got there in the first place. Luckily for us, companies are coming around focusing on using more plant based less harmful ingredients.  There are several eco-friendly companies already such as-

  • Burt’s Bees                                                                                                                                       
  • Aveda
  • Dr. Hauschka
  • Ecco Bella
  • Tarte

Now more then ever companies are toting the “go green” movement to market their products, this is no coincidence, consumer pressure and education motivate change and what’s popular for the moment.  If you’re interested in what may be lurking in your cosmetics visit cosmeticsdatabase.com and take a look at your favorite brands to see exactly what’s in them and if there may be a more viable option for your skin.