You steer clear of harmful ingredients in your food, but what about your makeup? According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly 90 percent of the 10,500 ingredients in personal care products have not been evaluated for their safety.
That's why consumers need to do their homework and investigate the ingredients in the products they use, says David Bank, M.D., founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetology, and Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, New York. Some ingredients may clog pores, and others are downright dangers, he says.
Here, Bank highlights four common ingredients that may do more harm than good—and their healthier alternatives (and for info on more ingredients, visit the EWG's Cosmetic Database):
1. Ingredient: Coal tar
Risk: Found in the dyes that gives blush their color, coal tar may clog pores and lead to acne.
Alternative: Mineral makeup. Make sure that the makeup doesn't contain nanoparticles, which may also lead to a breakout.
2. Ingredient: Parabens
Found in: Mascara
Risk: Added as a preservative, parabens have been linked to breast cancer tumors. They may also encourage premature aging.
Alternative: A natural preservative, like beeswax
3. Ingredient: Talc
Found in: Eye shadow
Risk: Talc gives shadow its smooth consistency, but may cause breakouts. Although research is mixed, it's also been linked to certain types of cancer.
Alternative: Rice powder
4. Ingredient: Lead
Found in: Lipstick
Risk: Used for its color, lead has been linked to cancer risk.
Alternative: A natural color agent, like plant and fruit derivatives.