Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients That Are Lurking In Your Skin Care Products
They say that beauty is only skin deep. Unfortunately, however, many cosmetics and skin care products contain toxic cosmetic ingredients that penetrate the skin and find their way deep inside the body. The effects of these chemicals can range from disrupting the endocrine system to increasing the risk of cancer.
Knowing what is in the products that you apply to your skin is essential if you want to prevent long-term side effects. The following list outlines some of the most toxic ingredients that you should look out for when purchasing makeup or skin care products.
Talc has been used for decades to absorb excess moisture and keep skin dry. Most commonly found in baby powder, feminine hygiene products, makeup and deodorant, this seemingly innocuous ingredient may contain asbestos, one of the most well-known carcinogens in the world.
Ideally, you should avoid beauty or skin care products that contain talc, whether it is asbestos-free or not. If you do use talc-containing products, avoid applying them to the pelvic area. Products that contain cornstarch in lieu of talc are generally a safe substitute.
This product, which helps lighten skin discoloration, came under the scrutiny of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. At that time, the FDA proposed banning its use in over-the-counter products since it demonstrated carcinogenic properties in studies on rodents. 
The risks of this ingredient are not just limited to its cancer-causing properties, however. It has also been shown to disrupt the adrenal glands and may increase the amount of mercury in the body after long-term use. Because of these dangers, many countries including Japan, Australia, and the European Union have already implemented bans on hydroquinone.
Commonly found in sunscreens and makeup products, octinoxate has been shown to mimic estrogen in the body. Higher levels of estrogen may increase the risk of breast cancer. Some studies have also found that this product disrupts normal thyroid function, resulting in a change in thyroid hormone levels.
Widely used in skin care products and cosmetics, phthalates have recently been linked to a number of different health conditions including breast cancer, asthma, ADHD, type II diabetes, fertility problems, and autism, just to name a few.
The problem with phthalates is that they are extremely difficult to avoid since they are in so many different products. Your best bet for minimizing your exposure to these ingredients is to purchase organic skin care products that are sold in glass bottles rather than plastic. This is because plastic containers often contain phthalates that may leech out into the products that are stored inside.
Commonly used to treat dandruff, psoriasis or other skin conditions, coal tar is a viscous black liquid that results from the burning of coal. Some studies have found that the use of this product can increase the risk of developing skin tumors. Additionally, it has been linked to a number of different types of cancer, including cancer of the bladder, lungs, and digestive tract. Pyridine, one of the components of coal tar, may also result in neurological damage such as problems with coordination or difficulty sleeping.
This list barely scratches the surface of the potentially toxic cosmetic ingredients that are found in everyday skin care products and cosmetics. Looking your best does not have to mean jeopardizing your health. There are much safer skin care alternatives on the market that can still keep your skin healthy and strong. Knowing what products to avoid is the first step in taking charge of your health. By making a shift to more natural beauty products, you can help avoid the many long-term side effects associated with exposure to these chemicals.
Stephany Lehman is a skin care and natural health enthusiast. She helps to run a site, AriaStarrBeauty.com that shares her passion and commitment to organic skin and beauty care.