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Post in Skincare Aware

Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Alright my wonderful beauty geniuses, let's talk about the crazy things in our make up today.


So today I was doing my research on sunscreen and I learned about all kind of things to watch out for in sunscreen. Most were because sunscreen soaks into your skin so you have weird chemicals soaking into your skin some getting in your bloodstream producing all kinds of bad effects. I assume the same goes for moisturizers, eye creams, and anything else your skin absorbs. (I will list the ones I found to avoid in sunscreen at the end.) However other things had to do with chemicals that sit on your skin and react with the sun and other things.


Now this made me wonder about make up especially foundation because most contain sunscreens as well and everything else we put on our face with weird chemicals. Does anyone know any chemicals to avoid in make up that aren't already listed????????


these are the chemicals I found:



 1. Oxybenzone
This hormone disruptor penetrates the skin, enters the bloodstream and behaves as estrogen in the body. They have been shown to cause cell damage that promotes cancer.

2. 4-MBC
4-MBC is a chemical that chemical enters the bloodstream and behaves as estrogen in the body as well. It’s also been linked to cancer. Both 4-MBC and oxybenzone are such dangerous hormone disruptors that scientists are urging parents to refrain from using any product containing either on children but it’s found in most sunscreens, even those made especially for babies.

3. Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
This widely used sunscreen ingredient disrupts thyroid hormone, affects brain signaling and lab tests show that is kills mouse cells when exposed to sunlight, even at low doses.

4. Avobenzone
Also known as Parsol 1789 and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. It generates free radicals in the body and has also been cited as an endocrine disruptor. It is unstable and sunlight causes it to break down into unknown chemicals, especially when used with octinoxate.

5. Retinyl palmitate
This is a form of vitamin A. It is an antioxidant that slows the aging process in skin which is fine for use in night creams. However, a study done by the FDA discovered a connection to cancer because it may accelerate growth in tumors and skin lesions when exposed to sunlight which makes it a dangerous ingredient for sunscreen.

6. Parabens
You’ll also find parabens listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. They are found in most cosmetics as well as sunscreen. Like oxybenzone, parbens mimic the body’s natural hormones increasing the risk of various cancers.

7. Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl PABA / PABA Ester)
This damages DNA, releases free radicals, mimics estrogen and causes allergies in some people.

8. Benzophenone
This is one of the most commonly found ingredients in sunscreens. It is known to cause cancer in lab animals

RE: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Thank you for posting this! Very helpful and good to know

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the active ingredient in self-tanners, but it increases free radical formation.  It is especially important to wear sunscreen after applying self-tanners for this reason.  I know some of them contain sunscreen, but the SPF tends to be low.  Since I learned about this a few years ago in seminar, I try to only apply self-tanner in the evening and avoid the sun the next day, if I use it at all.

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I avoid parabens in face products (skincare, foundation, powder, blush) mainly because I found that is what breaks me out and other products that may seep into the skin (bodywash, bodylotion). When I found that out wrote a paper on it for my chemistry class. Like Beautytester said, correlation isn't causation, but if other countries have banned parabens from products that will be used for children, there must be something behind it. Another synonym for parabens not on your list is Benzoic Acid.

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Just read about Benzophenone-how ironic is that? People use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, but this ingredient in sunscreen can cause cancer itself? wow

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I don't avoid anything because I'm pretty uneducated on this subject. I've always been curious though. Its hard to tell the difference between what is worth being concerned enough to avoid completely and what is basically an overreaction. Does anyone have any search words or articles that I can read through to learn more about this stuff? It sounds like you guys know something I don't and I don't want to put my health at risk for the perfect shade of eye shadow or something.

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I avoid parabens and talc (purely because it makes me break out).


I try to stick to more natural brands for face products...

make-up wise, bareMinerals and Tarte

skincare wise, Korres, Origins, although Clinique too (fragrance free)


I'm a little more lenient with mascara and eye shadow.


For body lotion and other fun nasty-free products, check out 100 percent pure dot com. I am obsessed with their body lotions and hand creams. Their scents are amazing. My favorite vanilla variation ever!

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Sounds like something I would love. Thank you! 🙂

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Don't forget that some of the chemical sunscreen ingredients listed are involved in coral reef die-off. Many of us don't live places where we're affecting coral reef but keeping that kind of thing out of popular products helps it to be less of an issue. 

(I have the misfortune/benefit of being allergic to several chemical sunscreens - so I was alerted by an Australian friend to "reef safe" sunscreens as a short-hand for finding sunscreen that was safe for my skin. So I wound up looking into the available research on coral reef die off and chemical sunscreen.) 

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I only use physical sunscreens on my face, but I didn't know about the coral reefs. Now I'll try to find a good physical for my body which is harder because I love the sprays for convenience.  It's hard to keep up.  


There are all sorts of ingredients hidden in fragrance too, so just buying a natural brand isn't a sure thing either.  I hope people keep adding to this to create sort of a shopping list for those of us interested.   



Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I watch a documentary called America the Beautiful. At on point they talked about chemicals being in our makeup without knowing/saying on the label. He also said in parts of the UK they are banned from being in those certain makeups. It was a great movie about how girls/ladies from all ages in are having trouble in our society and how beauty is defined to what it is now...horrible! 

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I noticed a lot of brands on sephora won't even give an ingredient list that's the ones that scare me the most like how bad is it that you can't even tell us what's in it?

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Or on their own sites like Clinique & Bobbi Brown & when you do get a recent list of ingredients you find it's all alcohol, wax & fillers 😞 

Yeah, I stay away from companies that make you jump through hoops to get a full list of ingredients. I can understand not giving it to Sephora, since products get reformulated often, BUT... their own website should have a list. & when you call/chat with CS they should be able to tell you what is in the products, not send a separate e-mail for each product a few days later. Yeah, no thanks! 

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

thank you for sharing this.

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I used an eye cream for many years, not sold at Sephora, and stopped when I decided to eliminate products with parabens.  I really liked it and hated to give it up.  Out of curiosity I looked it up recently and the company actually reformulated it and it does not contain them anymore and makes note of the fact on the package.  I think consumer awareness is starting to make a  difference with what is in cosmetics and beauty items. 

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Huh, I know retinol don't do well in the sun but I thought they just lose their effect, not possibly cause cancer, I'll have to go read more on that (random aside, do you know that's why Estee Lauder Advanced Night serum have (or had, they recently reformulated) a sunscreen ingredient despite the fact it's for night? so that the vitA in the serum won't break down when the bottle is exposed to the light).


The only ingredient I avoid is paraben (there's no evidence it causes cancer but it does seem to be correlated. Correlation does not imply causation but better safe than sorry in my book). Other than that I don't care, cuz everything can be bad and considering the fact I have 70+ skincare products, I would never sleep/work and be paranoid forever if I have to look out for the bazillion ingredients, lol.

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Our beloved KGD Cleansing Water has parabens. I don't stock up in hope they are about to reformulate it (wishful thinking?).   It's the only thing I'm using with parabens and I'll even often rinse my face afterwards which sorta defeats the purpose:)  



Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

I know it does, but I love it too much to ditch it. Besides, most of the time I use it as a makeup remover right before I cleanse, so I figure it's ok to be on your skin for half a minute before you cleanse it off. The only time it stays on are those one or two days every month when I'm too lazy to wash up. Most of the times I look for parabens in toner/serum/moisturizer, I'm a bit more lenient when it comes to cleanser/scrubs etc.

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

For what it's worth I tend to avoid parabens because we don't completely know what they do to the body, but the American Cancer Society has a page on their website that addresses the panic around parabens and breast cancer with a grain of salt. The title of the page is "Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk".


The blogger on Brightest Bulb in the Box also has a whole tag (Beauty Bullsh*t - not bleeped out on the blog) investigating chemicals in beauty products and other claims, with links to research papers and other sources.

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Brightest Bulb has good stuff!

Re: Chemicals in make up to avoid??

Ah, I will have to check out that blog. 🙂 I like that it has links to the studies and not just claims.

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