What Are the Dangers of Mineral Makeup?
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What Are the Dangers of Mineral Makeup?

Many women rave about mineral makeup because it does not contain harsh chemicals and preservatives. Mineral makeup can be ideal for sensitive skin because it does not cause irritations unlike other types of cosmetics. Unfortunately, mineral makeup is not entirely hazard-free. Some ingredients found in mineral makeup can be harmful to health, and some are also found in other types of makeup. Before applying mineral makeup on your skin, be aware of the hazards it poses and decide for yourself whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

Dangers From Mica

Mica is one of the main ingredients commonly found in mineral makeup. A silicate mineral, mica comes from the earth’s mineral rocks (for example, muscovite). In February 2010, Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon known simply as Dr. Oz, with shows that air on television and online, warned his viewers about the dangers of mica present in mineral makeup. Over time, according to Dr. Oz, mica can cause scarring, inflammation and lung disease in people who use it often, such as construction workers who use products like spackle with mica in them. No studies yet show the same dangers for cosmetics, but Cosmetics Database website lists mica as moderately hazardous.

Dr. Oz warned his audience that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate what goes into personal products such as mineral makeup; therefore, it is up to the consumers to take the necessary precautions when applying mineral makeup. One suggestion is to use a mask while applying makeup or decreasing the amount of makeup used, particularly the foundation. In addition, make sure that the powder settles within the bristles of the brush applicator to avoid too much inhalation.

Dangers From Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is probably the most controversial among the mineral makeup ingredients. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, recently classified titanium oxide as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which may cause cancer to humans. Rats tested in the lab developed respiratory tract cancer after inhaling titanium dioxide dust. According to Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, people exposed in dusty environments, such as mineral makeup manufacturers, may also develop cancer over time due to exposure and inhalation of titanium dioxide dusts.

Dangers From Bismuth Oxichloride

Another common ingredient of mineral makeup is bismuth oxychloride, which gives a shiny or shimmery finish to the makeup. The Cosmetic Database website classified bismuth oxychloride as a low hazard, but links it to toxicity of one or more biological systems such as the respiratory system. Bismuth chloride can also irritate the skin after clogging the pores, which may lead to acne breakouts.

Dangers From Zinc Oxide

The International Labor Organization lists zinc oxide as a component that can cause acute hazard and other symptoms. Overexposure to zinc oxide can cause sore throat, headache, fever or elevated body temperature. Fever and elevated body temperature may result, as well as nausea, vomiting, chills, muscular pain and weakness.

Photo Credit

  • pierre angulaire de mica image by Karl-Heinz Str??del from Fotolia.com
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