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Are Your Beauty Products Toxic?

December 03, 2013 4 min read

After being diagnosed as a Celiac, I became incredibly aware of what I was putting in my body. I used to eat all sorts of processed foods & fast foods and just convince myself I'd burn it all off later - not thinking about the effects it would have on my body that couldn't be rectified by going to the gym. It's been almost three years since I went gluten-free and I try hard every day to improve my health and only eat REAL food. One part I've consistently overlooked is what I was putting ON my body. I'm not hugely into cosmetics and beauty products, but I do dye my hair and wear makeup regularly. Part of me put off looking into these avenues as sources of gluten because I thought maybe I was taking it too far. The other part of me didn't want to face more inconveniences by having to look for other sources of these products as well (for anyone who has diet restrictions and does the grocery shopping...you know what I'm talking about). I don't wear foundation often, but when I do, I have a particular brand that I stick with. I was wearing it a lot recently and started to notice I was getting crazy breakouts on my face. I've never had the greatest skin to begin with, but this was different. They were more like rashes and really burned. It got so bad that I couldn't keep my eyes from watering, long after I'd taken the makeup off. I reached out to this company and politely asked for an ingredient list because I wanted to know if there was any gluten or cross-contamination. They refused and told me there was information I could have accessed in the store (even though I purchased it online). After reminding them that I had a physical ailment and could become very sick if this ingredient was present, they finally sent me this list.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
OCTINOXATE 2.0%
 
COSMETIC INGREDIENTS
CYCLOPENTASILOXANE
DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER
FRAGRANCE
DISODIUM STEAROYL GLUTAMATE
ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE
BENZYL SALICYLATE
HEXYL CINNAMAL
LIMONENE
LINALOOL
BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL
BENZYL ALCOHOL
 
MAY CONTAIN
TITANIUM DIOXIDE
IRON OXIDES
MICA
RED 36
YELLOW 5 LAKE
Not only did I have no idea where to start in terms of deciphering if any of these ingredients contained gluten, this list flat out terrified me. For someone that is so incredibly aware of what goes in their body, I had no idea what I was putting ON it. On a whim I Googled one ingredient: butylphenyl methylpropiona. A self-tanner came up that was under scrutiny because "It is also a highly fragranced product containing known central nervous system (CNS) - disrupting chemicals such as coumarin and butylphenyl methylpropiona" Whether or not this is fear-mongering, I was immediately turned off of the product and, gluten or not, in the garbage it went. Yesterday, I put a particular lipstick on that I hadn't worn in quite some time and noticed it felt a bit funny. One of my first symptoms of being glutened is my lips start to tingle. Within a few hours they will actually dry up, crack and begin to bleed as if I'd slept outside in the snow. I was at work, so the first chance I got, I went to the bathroom and wiped it off - along with a layer of skin. My lips literally FLAKED as I wiped off the makeup - even though they weren't dry in the least bit just hours prior. Alright back to Google I go. This one was a particular MAC lipstick and after finding that their allergy list is ridiculously vague, I found this "MAC Cruelty-Free Beauty: principle that prohibits animal testing and the policy is extended to ingredient suppliers as well. **EDIT: M.A.C. no longer guarantees its products are cruelty free. Current policy is that "Our products are not tested on animals except when absolutely mandated by law"** I knew MAC was cruelty free for so long and the fact that this has changed just saddens me. I'll admit, I'm not one to seek out this information, but once I see it - I won't unsee it. Regardless if you agree or disagree with animal testing, putting poisons on your body is NEVER good. If you don't ingest it, why would you wear it?  

6 Beauty Product Ingredients to Avoid

  • Petrochemicals Examples include petroleum jelly, isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol, methyl alcohol or methanol, butyl alcohol or butanol, ethyl alcohol or ethanol (often used in skin astringents and perfumes or colognes).
  • Sodium laureth/lauryl sulfates and other sulfate-based detergents Examples include sodium lauryl ether sulfate; sodium laureth sulphate; sodium lauryl ether sulphate (most commonly used in shampoos, shower gel, bubble bath)
  • Propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol, along with various ingredients formulated with PEGs and PGs Examples include ethylene glycol (used in firming lotions) and propylene glycol (found in everything from deodorant, mascara, baby powder, after shave and more).
  • Formaldehyde & paraben preservatives Examples include butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben (found in sunscreen, shampoos, shaving gel, toothpaste and more)
  • Synthetic dyes Examples include anything with F&DC preceding it, usually followed by a color and a number. (F representing food, D&C representing drugs and cosmetics), other color additives, including caramel, lead acetate, manganese violet, and more.
  • Artificial fragrances Avoid most perfumes/colognes, which legally aren't required to list ingredients to protect their trade mark
 

If you are looking for cruelty-free brands, here are a few popular ones you can add to your list:

Urban Decay
Lime Crime
LUSH
Too Faced (ALL products are gluten free except for Borderline Lip Pencil)
E.L.F
**Mary Kay is mostly gluten-free, but is not cruelty-free

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