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The Price of Beauty, Toxins Part 3

In the first two articles in this series, we looked at common toxins in and around your home. We also discussed ways to lower your exposure and help rid your body of toxic chemicals.

Today I’d like to talk about an overlooked source of toxins. One that I think will shock you. Shock, because you probably never imagined that toxic chemicals could crop up here.

I’m talking about cosmetics.

Many of the cosmetics bought today have chemicals which can build up in your system slowly over years before you exhibit symptoms. (Take mercury, for example.) Others haven’t been around long enough to know what the long-term effects are.

Just how dangerous? Read on…

Everything Looks Better In Lead

According to the EPA, lead exposure causes kidney and brain damage, blood problems, and reproductive and developmental issues. They call it a “very toxic element” – even at low exposures. It’s so dangerous, the government halted its use in paint and gasoline.

Yet lead is still used in some cosmetic products. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that men’s black hair dyes still contain lead.2

The EWG also lists, among others, these toxic cosmetic ingredients:

  • Phthalates, which can cause serious liver damage, are used in nail care products.
  • Hydroquinone, linked to abnormal tissue growth, is used in skin creams and lighteners.
  • Highly toxic mercury is used in some mascaras and gels.

But it’s not just what goes on your face that’s a problem. Your skin absorbs many cosmetic ingredients. And this can get scary.

When EWG tested a group of teenage girls for 16 toxic chemicals (all commonly found in cosmetics), they found an average of 13 of those chemicals in each girls’ blood and urine.5 And these were girls as young as 14… with decades of cosmetic use ahead of them.

Every one of those 20 girls had parabens in their bodies. Why is that important? Because parabens affect hormone systems and may promote abnormal cell growth.6 That’s not exactly good for a teenager’s health.

So what can you do about all these toxic cosmetic issues?

Simple Steps to Protect Your Family

As I mentioned in my last article, chelation isn’t a complete answer, but it can help. Using a detoxifier “tunes up” your body – including helping it get rid of toxins.

Use fewer cosmetic products. And those you use should be from organic or all-natural sources. A good resource for this is the cosmetics safety database at Skin Deep (

Finally, encourage your family to use fewer cosmetics, too. Especially avoid heavy cover-ups that contain metal powders or petroleum byproducts. Beauty may only be skin deep… but toxic cosmetics can do damage all the way to your core.

Best Life Herbals Wellness Team, MD
Best Life Herbals


1 Harmon, Katherine. Saving Face: How Safe Are Cosmetics and Body Care Products? Scientific American, May 5, 2009. See
2 What Not to Buy. Environmental Working Group. See
3 Agneta E, et al. Phthalate Esters and Their Effect on the Liver. Hepatology, Volume 4 Issue 3, Pages 541 – 547.
4 Kooyers TJ and Westerhof W. Toxicology and health risks of hydroquinone in skin lightening formulations. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Volume 20 Issue 7, Pages 777 – 780.
5 Sutton R. Adolescent exposures to cosmetic chemicals of concern. Environmental Working Group, September 2008. See
6 Darbre PD and Harvey PW. Paraben esters: review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity, absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks. ournal of Applied Toxicology
Volume 28 Issue 5, Pages 561 – 578.
Other Sources:
Environmental Protection Agency –

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