7 toxic chemicals to avoid in eye makeup

 

1. Ethanolamine compounds
“The problem with ethanolamines is that they can be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines,” said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund and director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

To spot ethanolamines, avoid products that contain ingredients with the letters DEA, TEA and MEA.

2. BAK
Benzalkonium chloride (BAK) is a preservative found in eyeliner, mascara and makeup remover.  BAK is well documented to be toxic to the epithelial cells of the eyes. These cells keep dust, water and bacteria out of the eye and provide a smooth surface on the cornea to absorb and distribute oxygen and cell nutrients from tears to the rest of the cornea.

BAK can be listed under various names including benzalkonium chloride, quaternium-15 or guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride.

3. Prime yellow carnauba wax
Used in mascara and eyeliners to stiffen the product and make them waterproof, prime yellow carnauba wax clogs the oil glands in the eyes and can lead to dry eye disease, which affects 3.2 million women age 50 and older, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Using products that contain waxes isn’t a good idea, although Japan wax might be a safer alternative, said Dr. Leslie E. O’Dell, director of the Dry Eye Center of Pennsylvania in Mechanicsburg and Manchester.

4. Parabens
Parabens are preservatives that are used to prevent the growth of bacteria in makeup products, but they’re absorbed through the skin and easily transmitted into the bloodstream. They’re also endocrine disruptors and are linked to reproductive toxicity, early puberty and breast cancer. Parabens can also make dry eye worse since they prohibit the oil glands that line the eyelid from secreting enough oil, O’Dell said.

When reading labels, avoid anything with the suffix-paraben.

5. Aluminum powder
Used to give eye makeup its hue, aluminum powder is both a neurotoxin and has been linked to organ system toxicity. Makeup labels will list aluminum, LB Pigment 5 or pigment metal.

6. Retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate
Two forms of vitamin A, retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate, have been linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity. They’re also found in anti-aging face creams and eye creams.

Even if you don’t have dry eye disease, you should avoid vitamin A.

“There are well-documented studies that show that it will kill the oil glands and once they’re gone, you can’t rebuild them,” O’Dell said.

7. Heavy metals
Nickel and chrome are two heavy metals found in all types of makeup, especially in green or metallic shadows, as well as makeup brushes, even the expensive types, O’Dell said.

Heavy metals are neurotoxins that have been linked to brain damage. Nickel in particular has been associated with lung cancer and respiratory concerns. What’s more, up to 17 percent of women have a nickel allergy, which can cause dry, itchy eyelids, a red skin rash and watery blisters.

Leave a Reply