Beauty is danger (ous)?

An article over at The Daily Mail got me thinking about whether beauty products are ‘safe’ or at least, as beneficial as we think they are. I have turned into a raving mad ball of itchies lately – my skin and scalp are going to pot and methinks and overload of products may have something to do with it.

Now, you know the Daily Mail loves to speak in hyperbole:

Yet just this week, research was published showing that common chemicals used in toiletries may make women more likely to be infertile.

Indeed, inside all those gleaming bottles and tubes we take for granted lurks a cocktail of dangerous synthetic chemicals that research suggests may be responsible for everything from reproductive complications to allergies and cancer.

The main problematic ingredients include:

PPD (paraphenylenediamine) an ingredient used in Hair Dyes because it is said to cause allergic reactions to the skin (possibly causing eczema). I had a quick look at a few hair dyes I have in my bathroom (I buy then decide I don’t want carrot red hair) and two of them contained this ingredient – not promising when my scalp is already delicate. I did also have a hair dye from Naturtint which makes dyes free from Ammonia and other slightly dodgy ingredients:


I have used this brand before and there’s a good colour range, it barely stings (a little tingly on me) and works pretty well.

Other brands include Logona and Surya who also leave out Ammonia and PPD.

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is in lots and lots of products and I am quite allergic to it – it gives me itches and red eye. It is a foaming agent primarily and some people, like me, find it very irritating. I had quite a mission finding a high street shampoo without this ingredient, but I found that Boots brand, Naked doesn’t use SLS or Parabens, and Lush too. But I won’t lie and say its easy for find a brand that omits this ingredient.

In Nail Polish there is Formaldehyde which is that stuff they use to preserve dead people. Did anyone every watch Dr Gunther? Anyway my friend went to see his dissections and said the smell of Formaldehyde was unbearable. But I digress.

I never used to use polish as I found it dried my nails out badly, and I’d rather have strong, healthy nails than pimped up ones. Once again this can cause allerges and is a potential carcinogen. Plenty of nail polishes however, will say Formaldehyde free these days, unless you are buying a 99p one of course.

Parabens are preservatives that can be found in various types of cosmetics, especially under arm deodorant. THey are link to cancer and possibly breast cancer (since the armpit is so close to the breast). You should also avoid deodorants with Aluminium salts which can have the same effect.


This is my deodorant which is clearly marked aluminium free. It also leaves me smelling like a cupcake!

Bismuth Oxychloride is found in a very well known Mineral Make up brand and is a by product of lead. It can make some people itch as it causes irritation (although this doesn’t occur with everyone).

Talcum Powder that is made of 90 per cent mineral talc or more can also cause problems:

The U.S. FDA consider cosmetic-grade talc to be safe, but in 1993 the National Toxicology Programme (NTP) in Britain found that rats exposed to cosmetic-grade talc via inhalation developed a range of inflammatory lung disorders, including cancer of the lungs and rare adrenal cancers.

In addition, eight studies have indicated a 30 to 60 per cent increase in the risk of developing ovarian cancer in women using talc-based body powder in the genital region.

Hear that? Towel dry ladies!

Do you avoid certain ingredients when buying beauty products? Do you not mind as long as it works for you? Would you pay double to buy a product which avoids these ingredients? Do you even believe the hype?

(Answers in comments, unless you want to just answer in your head, in which case, I’d understand).

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  1. Kim says

    Hey im looking for a good natural deoderant, i could only find the vanilla one on australian websites. Are there any UK sites to purchase this deoderant from?
    Thank you so much