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Cosmetic Myths Dangerous to Your Health

By Sara Butler

Women spend billions of dollars on cosmetics every year, and the average woman will spend about $15,000 over the course of her life on cosmetics. That’s a lot of money! People don’t tend to think of cosmetics or makeup as health products, but anything you apply to your skin can have a big impact on your health. That’s why it’s really important to know what’s in your makeup and understand the myths surrounding makeup so you don’t get sick!

Makeup Myth No. 1: Cosmetics are Safe Because They’re Sold in Stores

Do you think the Food and Drug Administration has jurisdiction over the cosmetic industry? Well, they don’t. They can’t require companies to test their products for safety and they don’t review and improve the ingredients used in the manufacture of cosmetics.

Makeup Myth No. 2: Using Dangerous Chemicals is Prohibited 

The fact is cosmetic companies can use any ingredients they want without government approval or review, save some color additives. The European Union has banned over 1,000 ingredients in cosmetics, but the FDA has only prohibited eight.

Makeup Myth No. 3: Cosmetic Companies Make Sure All Ingredients Used are Safe

The FDA doesn’t regulate the safety of cosmetics, so you may assume cosmetic companies do this themselves. If so, you assume wrong! While the cosmetics industry does have a review panel, they aren’t quick to ban certain ingredients and what they rule is not binding to companies – it’s merely recommendations that companies might or might not take.

Makeup Myth No. 4: Products Applied to the Skin Don't Enter the Body

Cosmetics often contain enhancers, which allow products to go deeper into the skin – and you have to remember anything you put on your skin can potentially enter your body and result in health issues. Plus, you don’t just have to apply cosmetics to your skin to be put in danger by their ingredients. Sprays and powders can also contain chemicals harmful to you through breathing them in or swallowing.

Makeup Myth No. 5: Something Labeled Hypoallergenic is Safe

You see this claim on cosmetic packages all the time but bear in mind that since the FDA doesn’t regulate the cosmetic industry, products labeled as “natural” or “hypoallergenic” don’t have to meet any standards. Dermatologists agree the term “hypoallergenic” has no meaning – it’s just something the cosmetic industry knows consumers like to see.

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