These Super Common Beauty Products Could Have Harmful Side Effects

Dangerous Beauty is more than just an amazing shade of Tom Ford lipstick. It’s also a reality in the beauty industry thanks to many of the harmful ingredients in makeup. Do your research and you’ll find that dangerous beauty products are everywhere, from the makeup aisle at the drugstore to your hair colorist’s dye. But don’t worry; this list covers all the toxic makeup ingredients you need to know about.

There’s a simple explanation for why there are so many beauty products that have harmful side effects: the FDA does not have to approve the ingredients used in cosmetic products. Activists are lobbying for this law to be reformed, so you can rest assured knowing your beauty routine isn’t going to make you sick. But until that day comes, here are the beauty product ingredients to avoid.

  • Saw Palmetto May Interfere With Birth Control Medication

    Saw Palmetto May Interfere With Birth Control Medication
    Video: YouTube

    Tati Westbrook's adoring YouTube subscribers were incredibly excited when she launched Halo Beauty, her own line of beauty supplements to support hair, skin, and nails. However, the excitement quickly turned into rage when people found out Halo Beauty's supplements included an ingredient called saw palmetto. It has been known to both boost hair growth and interfere with prescription medications like birth control. 

    The jury is still out on this one, but New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner says: "There is currently no data showing that saw palmetto will interfere with your birth control." But OB-GYN Leah Millheiser believes otherwise:

    "I don't agree with the blanket statement that saw palmetto does not interfere with hormonal contraception. Saw palmetto does have estrogenic activity and may affect endogenous hormone levels."

    Without any conclusive evidence on either side, it's best to arm yourself with information. Supplements don't require regulation or approval for distribution from the Food & Drug Administration, so you really never know what's in them.

  • Added Fragrances May Cause Allergies, Dermatitis, And Even Effects On The Reproductive System


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    Skincare and haircare companies typically add fragrance to products in order to give the customer a full-sensory experience. However, that added fragrance isn't doing you any favors. According to the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database, fragrance can cause "allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system."

    To protect yourself, look for body and hair products labeled "No Fragrance Added" or "Fragrance Free." No scent, no matter how sweet and refreshing, is worth the potential side effects.

  • Charcoal May Actually Make Your Teeth Weaker And More Sensitive

    Charcoal is one of the most popular health and wellness ingredients, and it's showing up in many forms - in water, in supplements, in face masks, and in teeth whitening treatments. While charcoal is pretty healthy, you may want to pump the brakes when it comes to using it in your dental routine. There's evidence to suggest that the harsh powder breaks down tooth enamel, making your teeth weaker and more sensitive. A few studies of charcoal tooth whitening reported negative outcomes, including increased cavities, enamel abrasion, and other negative impacts.

    However, the results are inconclusive. If you're still interested in brushing your teeth with charcoal, just be aware that the ingredient's antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and oral detoxification claims are not based on hard scientific evidence.

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Could Cause Skin Irritation


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    This active ingredient found in body washes, cleansers, shampoos, toothpastes, and cosmetics could be more trouble than it's worth. Sodium lauryl sulfate shows up everywhere in the beauty world. But some publications have claimed it may cause all kinds of skin irritation, including acne (especially around the mouth and jawline), canker sores, dry skin, and red, itchy eyes.

    That said, an article published in the NCBI in 2015 aimed to disprove these assertions, positing that "[f]or decades, this chemical has been developing a negative reputation with consumers because of inaccurate interpretations of the scientific literature and confusion between SLS and chemicals with similar names." 

    However, its sister ingredient, sodium laureth sulfate (also known as SLES), is regarded by many as a generally safer, more gentle alternative.

  • Baby Powder May Be Linked To Some Types Of Cancer


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    The seemingly harmless product with an equally innocent name - baby powder - has actually been linked to the development of different forms of cancer, including ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. The culprit is talc, a mineral powder that can contain trace amounts of asbestos (a known carcinogen).

    While almost all baby powders are formulated with talc that does not contain asbestos, some studies show that baby powder may still be cancer-causing. One woman won a $417 million dollar case against Johnson & Johnson when she claimed that their baby powder gave her ovarian cancer. The verdict was later overturned, but it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to harmful ingredients.

  • Phthalates May Increase Risk Of Cancer And Birth Defects


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    Phthalates could seriously scary. Phthalates may increase your risk of breast cancer and reproductive birth defects, and they can be included in your hairsprays, perfumes, and moisturizers without you even knowing. Due to a product labeling loophole, phthalates are often included under the umbrella of "fragrance." They don't have to be specifically listed on the ingredients list. The best way to avoid them is to purchase all natural products, or products that are fragrance-free.