5 Harmful Makeup Ingredients To Avoid

We often don’t think twice when picking out makeup and skincare products off the shelves. We automatically assume that most products have passed safety regulations before they can be sold to the public. However, this is simply not true.  According to the FDA, there are no laws that require makeup companies to obtain FDA approval before selling their products. This puts the responsibility on the consumer to figure out what is in their makeup or skin care products. Here is a list of 5 harmful makeup ingredients that you should look out for:
harmful makeup ingredients

BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

BHA and BHT are used in a variety of lipsticks and moisturizers. They are often used as preservatives in food and cosmetic products. BHA and BHT are known to cause allergic reactions on the skin. They are regarded as carcinogens because they are substances that can cause cancer and endocrine disruptors; therefore they are harmful makeup ingredients.
Furthermore, BHA is known to cause liver damage, stomach cancers and abnormal development of the reproductive system.


We all know that lead can be bad for our health but not many of us know the actual damages this substance can cause.
Lead can be found in lipsticks, moisturizers, foundations and many other cosmetic products. Lead has been scientifically proven to cause delays in female puberty. It can also reduce fertility and is a neurotoxin linked to miscarriage. Lead is especially dangerous for people who eat while wearing lipstick.
The scariest thing about this makeup ingredient is that it is never labeled on any makeup labels.  This is because lead is considered as a contaminant and not an ingredient.  Therefore, it is essential that you do proper research for a makeup product before buying it. 


This is an additive that is used to prolong the use of a product by preventing bacterial growth in the product. Parabens can mimic estrogen and can cause breast cancer. There are many forms of parabens. Some of these forms include methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. 
Methylparabens are especially dangerous because they are found in many skin care creams. Studies have shown that methylparaben can react with the UVB rays from the sun which causes skin aging and DNA damage.


Formaldehyde is used in a variety of makeup and skincare products like nail polishes, conditioners and body washes. It is a colorless and flammable gas used as a preservative to prolong the use of a product.
Formaldehyde was proven to be a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research. This ingredient can cause nasopharyngeal cancer which affects the head and neck.  It is currently banned in the EU. Some side effects of this harmful makeup ingredients include irritation of the eyes, throat, skin and nose.

Polyethylene/PEG Compounds

Polyethylene glycols or PEG compounds are petrol based compounds found in body scrubs, body washes, cream based makeup and skin care products. PEG compounds are included in skincare products because they help other ingredients penetrate deeper into your skin. This is a good if the ingredients that are penetrating into the skin are healthy. However, if these harmful makeup ingredients are not healthy, there could be very serious consequences.
Polyethylene glycols could contain ethylene oxide and 1, 4-dioxane. Ethylene Oxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to the nervous system. 1, 4-dioxane is a possible carcinogen that can stay active without degrading for long periods of time.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Beauty that walks as a whole.

About The Author

Sandy Taylor is the editor at She is a makeup artist who has worked in the makeup industry for the past 10 years. Over the years, Sandy had her fair share of bad experiences due to harmful ingredients in makeup. Luckily, none of the symptoms was life threatening. However, Sandy believes that not many people actually know what’s inside their makeup products. This is the reason why she wants to help others learn more about this topic.


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    too true because most of these we never look for on the labels

    April 26, 2017 at 5:32 am Reply
  • Priyanka kumari

    Thanks for sharing .
    I had no idea that BHA was so harmful !

    April 26, 2017 at 5:32 am Reply
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