The Ugly Side of Beauty Products

B eauty aisles offer a tantalizing buffet of options. Vibrant colors splash from the shelves; promises of youth and allure beckon. It’s like Toys ‘R Us for grown-ups. Yet what should be a fun journey quickly turns noxious when you think of the minefield of toxins you’re wading through.

A frightening number of skin care and beauty products contain heavy metals, skin irritants, and potentially dangerous ingredients that can have both short and long-term consequences. Take a look at some of the most concerning ingredients in your beauty products and how to avoid them.

Benzophenone

Where it’s hiding: Baby sunscreen, lip balm, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, foundation, moisturizer

Aliases: Any word that contains benzophenone, sulisobenzone, BP + a number, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone sodium

Crime: Endocrine disruption, cancer, organ system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity

How to avoid it: Stay away from products that contain those ingredients. Opt for sunscreens that use non-nanoized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Phthalates

Where it’s hiding: Fragrance, makeup, lipstick, lotion, nail polish

Aliases: Anything with “fragrance” or “parfum” in the ingredient label; You’ll never find labels listing phthalates.

Crime: Mimics hormones, thereby telling your body to make more or less of certain hormones; linked to increased risk of breast cancer and early onset of menopause; diabetes, autism

How to avoid it: Use products that are labeled phthalate-free.

Parabens

Where it’s hiding: deodorant, moisturizer. makeup, hair gels

Aliases: Anything with methyl-, butyl-, and propyl-paraben; ingredients ending in ‘paraben’

Crime: Mimics estrogen in the body, which can increase the expression of genes that may result in human breast cell tumor growth

How to avoid it: Avoid products with those ingredients, though it is unlikely the average consumer will be exposed to enough parabens to cause harm.

Research into beauty products is ever-evolving, leaving consumers more informed yet also more confused with each new announcement. You can reduce the amount of toxins entering your body by choosing beauty product lines that offer environmentally-friendly and body-healthy ingredients.

This week’s top picks

Shop the bubble pop store to pick up some flirty essentials. Take pics of yourself wearing our bubble pop merch while making heads turn and hashtag it #BubblePopBeauty

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