Harmful Effects of Chemicals used in Cosmetics

It comes as no surprise, that all of us yearn to stay healthy and look good at the same time. However, the latter is given much importance and in the process many people end up using multiple personal care products or cosmetics.

Most of these cosmetics have high chemical content, and some of these chemicals might have some adverse effects on our body or skin. There are actually a number of chemical-based personal care products that are safe for our body, but you should certainly watch out for some of the harsher chemicals that are described below.

Harmful Effects of Chemicals used in Cosmetics

Coal Tar

Cosmetic products and hair dyes usually have coal tar as their primary ingredient. Coal tar-based products are closely associated to the cause of pigmented cosmetic dermatitis. Having made of polycyclic hydrocarbons coal tar can be a leading cause of photo toxicity and high levels of exposure to these chemicals can also be the reason of liver, skin and lung cancers.

Diethanolamine (DEA)

Used commonly in the preparation of cosmetics like shampoos and soaps, the powerful chemical has the tendency to cause damaging effects on the development of brain. According to a study, the application of DEA is related with amplified incidence of liver neoplasm and renal tubule adenoma in mice.


Found in cosmetics like hair smoothening items, excessive exposure to this chemical might cause allergic reactions in eyes, nose, throat and skin and can majorly lead to asthma.  It might also cause disturbance in menstrual cycle in women.


One of the usually found ingredients in cosmetics such as creams, makeup and hair care products, parabens are researched to be a cause of breast tumors. However, the currently parabens have been said to be safe according to the FDA, but the assessment and detection of health hazards related to parabens is continuing.


Artificial fragrances such as hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexene or carboxaldehyde, etc are said to cause several health troubles after extended contact. These include skin irritation, headaches, lung problems, and dizziness.

Mineral Oil

A widely used element in the production of cosmetics, Mineral oils is extracted from petroleum products and maybe the reason for allergies and skin irritation. They may also hamper the movement of nutrients and the exclusion of waste matter from the cells by jamming skin pores. Research implies that cosmetics having mineral oils perhaps contribute to arthritis.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Look at the ingredients at the back of any cosmetics that you use, and you will find SLS present in almost all of them. Extensive exposure to the chemical can cause eye and skin irritation, as well as allergic reactions and a usual drying out of the skin.