That brightly colored makeup or unnaturally scented cologne contain some of the most hazardous ingredients in kids' and teen products.
Wondering what lurks inside your teen’s personal care products? The first items that may come to mind are the brightly colored makeup products sold in those glittery shops in the mall or the aerosol cans of unnaturally scented cologne that are a staple in every middle school boy’s gym locker.
Yes, these products contain some of the most hazardous cosmetic ingredients, but they aren’t the only ones. Even daily care items that you don’t give a second thought -- like hand soap, toothpaste, and feminine hygiene products -- often harbor toxic chemicals.
Hormone disrupting chemicals are the main concern with products marketed to teens and they are rampant in conventional products. Synthetic fragrance and preservatives, chemical sunscreen, and harsh chemical antibacterial ingredients all have links to hormonal disruption and they can have lasting effects.
Research shows that commonly used endocrine disruptors, like phthalates, BPA, and pesticides, can affect the regular pubertal development of children and teens, causing early onset puberty in girls and delayed puberty in boys. There is also a connection between weight gain and obesity with regular exposure to these chemicals.
A 2016 study by the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California Berkeley showed a significant decline in hormone disrupting chemicals in study subjects just days after eliminating products that contain them.
Teens are beginning to want to wear makeup at an increasingly younger age. And why wouldn’t they with so many brands marketing to their age group?
Most teens want to use products that they see their favorite beauty vloggers or celebs using. But those mainstream lines are chock full of ingredients that irritate skin, exacerbate acne, and cause hormonal disruption. And these ingredients are found in all makeup products, from cheap drugstore makeup to high- end beauty products.
While ingredients to avoid in teen makeup are the same as those that should be avoided by adults, Georgina Tzavaras of Gia Minerals notes additional toxic ingredients that are commonly found in makeup designed for the younger set; talc, bismuth oxychloride and boron nitride, green chromium, siloxanes, mineral oil, and formaldehyde. These base ingredients tend to be cheaper so it helps to keep the price accessible for teens, and can create bolder, brighter colors.
Is this what holds teens back from choosing natural makeup? “Young teens often think that green beauty products do not offer the color selection or results conventional products offer,” said Georgina. “In truth, healthier, natural makeup has come a long way and now offers a wider range of colors, but some shades are just not possible to make naturally. I think it’s all about the education you give them.”
Kids should also be taught how to use makeup products safely to avoid irritation, infection, or skin damage. “Using expired products can be just as dangerous as using products with toxic ingredients,” said Dome Beauty founder Maribeth Pyne. Check expiration dates, know product shelf life, and clean makeup brushes regularly.