Many women turn towards cosmetics to help boost their confidence. A woman’s image plays a significant role in how they perceive and interact with each other. This explains why women put so much effort into enhancing their beauty, through make-up for instance. However, factors women often ignore are the possible health issues that arise from hidden chemicals used in cosmetics. This further raises the question, can something that enhances our beauty be hazardous to our health? And what should women look out for when purchasing their favorite brands?

Lipstick, for instance, is a universal branch of make-up that has been carried in women’s bags for decades. But do we ever ask ourselves; exactly what are we applying onto our lips?

Parabens are one of the most common preservatives used in cosmetics. Although parabens increase the shelf life of most beauty products, they posses harmful chemicals that are associated with estrogenic effects and carcinogenicity.

The most popular lipstick brands contain a few of the following hidden chemicals: methylparaben, polymethl methacrylate, propylparaben, retinyl palmitate, and tocopheryl.

Research has revealed that methylparaben, labeled as a highly hazardous preservative by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), may be linked to cancer as it has also been banned in the EU (but not in the US). Also very hazardous, propylmethyl which may cause allergic reactions. Likewise, tocopheryl acetate may cause skin blistering, itching and hives.

As each chemical is ranked at its own degree of “hazard” by the Environmental Working Group, they all have similar effects on the human body. Studies show that after these toxins have been absorbed through ones skin, they may cause hormone disruption, neurological problems, and reproductive disorders.

It’s not just lipstick that women need to be cautious of, but a variety of beauty products. eMaxHealth claims that cadmium has been found in eyeliners, nickel in powders, beryllium in bronzers and arsenic in some foundations.

Although it is difficult to completely eliminate these hidden chemicals from our daily use, it is important to remain conscious of what we apply on our skin. Some women tend to use excessive amounts of make-up to “cover up” but, with all the hazardous effects that arise from make-up use, it’s important to bear in mind that less is more!

All these chemicals may discourage women from purchasing make-up however, this is not a realistic solution. For a list of products with hazardous chemicals, go to www.ewg.orgor for any questions concerning cosmetics and skincare, contact Dr. Talakoub at 703-356-5111.

By: Lily Talakoub and Tugce Erguven

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