When creating new products, companies have to go through a series of phases to not only get the components right, but to also make it safe for consumers. In recent years, agencies like the FDA and the MHRA (in the United Kingdom) have helped to ensure safety, but it wasn’t always that way and there are still some products that slip through the cracks. Centuries ago, beauty product creators were not concerned about what went into the product as long as it produced the desired look. Here are some extremely dangerous products that are still in use today.
1. Skin Cream… with Mercury
Mercury is a toxic metal found naturally occurring in nature. From the time of its discovery, it has been used in many things from thermometers and fluorescent light bulbs to skin creams. Used to treat blemishes, acne, and age spots, skin creams usually contain ceramides to help retain moisture, but toxic substances like mercury have been known to show up every now and again. Over the last decade, unlabeled or homemade skin creams have been linked to over 60 cases of mercury poisoning. There have even been cases where unsealed containers of cream were altered or contaminated with mercury. Although no one has died, many people have been hospitalized for mercury poisoning symptoms.
2. Nail Polish… with Styrene
The smell of many beauty products are not exactly pleasant, especially nail-related beauty products like polish and acetone. Despite how good it looks, some types of nail polish contain harmful chemicals that have caused everything from brittle nails to discoloration, but there are some brands that can do more damage than bad nails. One type of Sally Hansen nail products was found to contain extremely high levels of styrene – a compound used to make plastic. This plastic has been linked to skin, eye, and upper respiratory tract irritation. Long-term exposure, however, has been associated with headaches, hearing loss, nerve damage, depression, weakness, and fatigue. Some other dangerous ingredients include formaldehyde and toluene.
3. Perfume… with Lilial
Perfume has existed for thousands of years, and little thought was given to its safety when it was first created. Although many steps were taken to make these products safer, there are still some compounds that should not be used to make perfumes, but still are. The worst part is that quite a few of the celebrity marketed scents are the ones with compounds like lilial. Also known as butylphenyl methylpropional, lilial has been linked to cancer which led to the European Union banning its use in March 2022. There are still many companies that use it, so be sure to read the label before buying.
4. Setting Powder…with Talc
Over the last several decades, beauty companies have been trying their best to create products that would help to combat oily skin. From your classic milk of magnesia to topical retinoids, there are many products that can be used. But what happens when you already have a face full of makeup? Setting powder was created to help keep makeup in place and oil-free but at what cost? Some types of setting powder contain talc – a compound that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, chest pain, lung irritation and coma. It also contains titanium dioxide, a compound that should not be put in loose powder.
5. Blush… with Formaldehyde
Blush is typically a powdered product that is used to bring color and life to a person’s cheeks. Oddly enough, many of your favorite blushes contain a compound called formaldehyde, which has become famous for its use as a preservative, specifically in people who are no longer in the land of the living. While it is not illegal to use such compounds in makeup products, it is surprising to find them there as the side effects of formaldehyde, like eye, nose, and throat irritation. Further exposure can lead to organ damage.
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