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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ have been found in popular makeup brands

You heard me right. A recent study found that many popular cosmetic brands contain harmful chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They are also know as ‘forever chemicals’ because they accumulate in the body and do not break down in the environment.

PFAS are used most commonly in foundations, lipsticks and waterproof mascara. They are used to increase a product’s durability, spreadability, and wear.

Why should you care?

PFAS easily enter your body through naturally swallowing your favourite lipstick or that mascara entering your tear ducts. Your skin also readily absorbs these chemicals.

A review from the CDC found that high exposure to PFAS is associated with cancer, liver damage, reduced fertility, and a greater risk of asthma and thyroid disease. The chemicals are also linked to birth defects, decreased immunity, hormone disruption, and a range of other serious health problems.

What to do?

What was most alarming in the study was that approximately 88% of the products tested did not disclose these ingredients on their product labels. The study also did not want to disclose which brands used PFAS as they did not want to 'pick on’ on particular brand. That is nice of them, but for us it makes it harder for us to identify which brands to avoid combined with the the lack of transparency on many ingredient labels. But, the names tested in the study included some of my old favourites such as MAC, Benefit, Estee Lauder, L’oreal, Revlon and Maybelline. You can find an extensive list of the brands tested here. However, the study found they were most often present in products advertised as 'wear-resistant', 'long-lasting' and 'waterproof'.

It is hard to know for sure if the makeup you are using is free from PFAS. However, I recommend you remove any beauty products that contain the words ‘PTFE’ or ‘perfluoro’ in the list of ingredients. Even better switch to a natural or organic brand! That way you will have greater certainty that they contain no nasties.

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