Carcinogens in Makeup: 7 Ingredients That May Be Linked to Breast Canc - EMANI
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Carcinogens in Makeup: 7 Ingredients That May Be Linked to Breast Cancer

For the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed the massive ways in which beauty’s evolved...for the better!

As experts have developed a more sophisticated understanding of formulations and what works best for our skin, we’ve seen a decrease in products loaded with toxins, and a surge of safer, more nourishing options.

But even today, dangerous chemicals lurk in the market, and some may even be linked to breast cancer.

Whether it’s at Emani or at any other brand, we want you to stay in the know on ingredients so that you can shop with confidence.

So without further ado, we’re sharing 7 possible carcinogens in makeup.

1. Triclosan

Triclosan is typically used to lower the risk of bacterial contamination, and it’s most commonly found in over-the-counter products like antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, and some cosmetic products.

According to the FDA, triclosan may have an impact on thyroid function and how it creates hormones when consumed in high amounts, and there are currently ongoing studies observing its potential links to cancer.

2. Coal Tar

Coal tar is a by-product that’s created from the processing of coal, and despite being a known carcinogen, it can still be found in scalp treatments, hair dyes, shampoos, and products for rosacea.

Coal was first identified as a carcinogen in the early 1900s, when young chimney sweeps exposed to coal tar developed scrotal cancer. Coal tar may also have links to lung, bladder, kidney and digestive tract cancers, and exposure may also lead to tumors in the body.

3. Parabens

More than any other carcinogen in makeup, parabens may have the biggest reputation. Parabens are found in all sorts of beauty products, including foundations, moisturizers, eye makeup and lip products.

Parabens are typically added to products, again, as a preservative, and they’re used to prevent the spread of bacteria in products. However, the FDA has recognized that many studies have indicated parabens can cause breast and skin cancer and decreased sperm count.

4. Phthalates

Phthalates are meant to improve the texture of products, usually by making a product more flexible and durable, and they’re used in not only beauty products like nail polish and shampoo, but in everyday goods like food packaging and raincoats.

According to the National Institutes of Health, at least one phthalate has links to cancer, and some may even have an impact on a child’s brain development.

5. 1,4 Dioxane

1,4 dioxane is typically used as a solvent stabilizer, and sometimes shows up in beauty products that contain detergents, foams, stabilizers or solvents. While it doesn’t always appear in beauty products, it can sometimes take place in a product’s manufacturing process as an unintended contaminant.

According to the FDA, 1,4 dioxane may be"a potential human carcinogen," and it’s been recommended by the FDA that manufacturers use a vacuum technique to prevent contamination.

6. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde, or formaldehyde-containing chemicals, are sometimes found in hair products, skin products, nail lacquers and shower products.

Formaldehyde’s been known to cause allergic reactions, often taking the form of irritation to the eyes and respiratory system. It’s also been shown that formaldehyde has links to developing cancers. 

On top of that, excess use of formaldehyde can also lead to an increase in airborne carcinogens, which can put more individuals at risk of exposure.

7. Contaminated Talc

Talc is a mineral, and it’s an extremely common makeup ingredient that’s often found in face powders, baby powder, eyeshadow and blush.

Talc on its own is not considered harmful, but it may pose a health risk if contaminated with asbestos, which can sometimes happen due to the two materials’ proximity in the earth.

In 2019, the FDA put out an advisory to consumers, recommending that they avoid using certain products because they were found to be contaminated with asbestos, and many of these products were found to contain talc. 


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