What Chemicals In Foundation Should You Avoid?

What foundation ingredients should be avoided? Some chemicals can be harmful. Learn to check labels and avoid buying brands with these listed.

Bad Chemicals In Foundations: Makeup Ingredients to Avoid

The world is a scary place, and unfortunately, the beauty realm can be even scarier. Foundations, along with other makeup products, are often comprised of toxic chemicals that may not seem harmful at first glance, but prove to be very bad for your health. But unless you're a scientist, how are you supposed to understand all the wordy ingredients listed on the backs of foundation bottles?

Take a deep breath — it doesn't have to be all that overwhelming. As long as you know a few key ingredients to look out for, shopping for healthy and safe foundations is completely possible. Here is a list of foundation ingredients you should avoid if you can.

Why should you avoid Parabens and look for "paraben-Free"?

You may have noticed paraben-free beauty products in stores like shampoos, face washes, and makeup, but what exactly does it mean? Parabens are chemicals that prevent mold and bacteria growth and often enable products to have a long-lasting shelf life. When you put it that way, parabens don't seem all that bad, right?

According to the FDA, parabens have estrogen-producing properties that scientists believe have a strong association with the development of breast cancer in women. When people use products containing parabens, it gets absorbed into the skin and into the body, proving to be quite harmful over time.

What are BHA and BHT?

Butylated compounds, also known as BHA and BHT, are used as a preservative in many beauty products, namely in powder foundations. While BHA and BHT work to preserve the makeup, they can lead to serious health problems. Because the chemical has the ability to disrupt a person's hormones, developmental and reproductive issues could occur over time after using products that contain it. And according to the US National Toxicology Program, butylated compounds could be considered a human carcinogen.

What problems can Ethanolamines cause?

Ethanolamines, also referred to as MEA, DEA or TEA, can often be found in foundations sold in America. Because this chemical has been linked to cancer and male reproductive problems, the European Union has banned it from being used in cosmetics altogether. However, the U.S. has yet to ban the ingredient so be sure to look out for it when shopping for foundation.

Why You shouldn't buy makeup with Sodium laureth sulfate

You're likely to find this dangerous ingredient in different cream-based products including foundation. Its purpose is to help the skin (and hair if in hair products) absorb the product more easily. The ingredient is known to contain chemicals like 4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, which have been known to attribute to different cancers. Sodium laureth sulfate can also lead to acne and skin irritation.

When should Retinol be avoided?

If you're using an anti-aging foundation, there's a good chance it contains some form of retinol. While retinol can, in fact, have anti-aging effects, it becomes toxic when exposed to sunlight. That's why more nighttime beauty products may contain the stuff.  However, there are plenty of daytime products that contain retinol, like foundations.

How can Lead be harmful in foundations and skincare products?

Many foundations, as well as lipsticks, contain trace amounts of lead that attributes to the product's color. Lead has been known to cause miscarriages and infertility along with neurodevelopmental problems in children.

Why to avoid Heavy metals in foundations

Wondering how metal could possibly fit into those teeny tiny foundation bottles? Turns out, they can. Heavy metals like mercury can be found in foundation and other makeup products which has been linked to cases of nervous system, reproductive and respiratory toxicity. Aluminum can also be found in foundation, which can cause reproductive toxicity and cancer.

Why it's important to know the ingredients in your foundation

While it may seem hard to believe that a little glob of foundation could be that harmful to your health, think again. Sure, you're not ingesting your makeup, but you are rubbing into your skin, which is a massive organ full of pores that absorb just about anything that touches it. From environmental factors to cosmetics, your skin can absorb all kinds of ingredients and chemicals that can prove quite hazardous to your health.

While you can't always check every single ingredient of every cosmetic product you put on your skin, you can slowly switch over to safer brands. Do some research online and find out what brands use safer ingredients. That way, when you go to the store, you won't have to read long lists of ingredients and can just look for the brand you've researched.

Resources— Brenttany Sharraine, Frends Beauty, Safe Makeup Project, Huffington Post