All Women's Talk

7 Harmful Ingredients in Mascara That You Should Avoid ...

By Chelsie

Mascara is probably one of my favorite make-up products; however, I don’t love the harmful ingredients in mascara. Until recently, I never thought twice about putting on mascara. It makes my eyes look brighter and all of my features stand out more. Yet, when I discovered there are harmful ingredients in mascara, I became concerned. After all, no one wants to have harmful ingredients near their eyes. Avoiding the following ingredients in mascara will help you steer clear of anything harmful.

1 Coal Tar Dyes

Coal tar dyes are just some the harmful ingredients in mascara that you will want to avoid. These dyes contain heavy metals and are carcinogenic. Although you only put the mascara on your eyelashes, some of the harmful ingredients can still be absorbed into your bloodstream. To avoid coal tar dyes, look at the label for FD & C Blue no. 1. Also, you may find them listed as five digit number that is preceded by a Cl. While looking for these ingredients in the ingredient list may seem tedious, it will help you avoid these harmful dyes.

2 Fragrance

Surprisingly, some mascara contains fragrance. I never thought mascara had fragrance in it, but it is generally added to cover up the scent of coal tar dyes. Fragrance can be very irritating, especially to the eyes. Therefore, it is best to avoid mascara that has fragrance in it. You will see it listed as fragrance or parfum on the ingredient label.

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3 Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives

Until recently I thought my only contact with formaldehyde was in high school biology class during dissections. As it turns out, formaldehyde is used in mascara as a preservative, and I have had daily contact with it for years. Since it is a known carcinogen, formaldehyde is not something I want near my eyes. On the ingredient label it can be listed under several different names, including DMDM hydantoin, diazuli dinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or methenamine and quaternium-15.

4 Parabens

Parabens are found in many products, including mascara. People are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful effect parabens have on hormones. You will actually find many products listed as paraben free. However, there are many mascara products that still contain parabens, so it is important to read the label carefully.

5 BHA and BHT

BHA and BHT are preservatives that are derived from petroleum. Both BHA and BHT can affect hormones negatively, are carcinogenic, and are harmful to aquatic and land animals. Steering clear of BHA and BHT is a good idea because of their harmful effects to a person’s health and the environment.

6 Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol is a liquid that absorbs water. While the FDA considers it “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), it can cause dermatological and respiratory issues. Some of the problems it can cause include acne, eczema, and rashes, none of which are desirable.

7 Retinyl Acetate

Because it is a form of vitamin A, retinyl acetate may seem harmless, but it is not. In fact, its use is restricted in Canadian cosmetics. You want to avoid retinyl acetate because it is a carcinogen and can cause developmental and reproductive problems.

Mascara is like the icing on the cake for your eyes. Unfortunately, there are harmful ingredients in mascara that are not as appealing as icing. Avoiding these ingredients does take a little diligence, but it is possible to find nontoxic mascara. Do these harmful ingredients concern you?


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