Chemicals Banned From Cosmetics In Europe But Not In The US

Woman applying makeup | Chemicals Banned From Cosmetics In Europe But Not In The US

Most cosmetics contain a number of toxic chemicals harmful to your health. Most of these are banned in Europe, but are allowed in the U.S. Oops!

In this article:

  1. What Types of Chemicals are in Beauty Products?
  2. What Cosmetic Chemicals are Banned in Europe?
  3. Which Chemicals in Makeup are Banned in Europe but are Allowed in the U.S.?
  4. Where Can You Find Makeup Products Without Chemicals?
  5. Why Should You Switch to Organic Makeup Products?

All About Cosmetic Chemicals in Europe and the U.S.


What Types of Chemicals are in Beauty Products?

Woman testing different shade on skin | Chemicals Banned From Cosmetics In Europe But Not In The US

A lot of work and formulation goes into making any cosmetic product look and feel appealing. This is why most cosmetic products contain chemicals to act as:

  • Emulsifiers: to mix the water and oil products and create a well-mixed texture
  • Preservatives: to lengthen the shelf life of cosmetics and prevent bacteria from living in the product’s container
  • Thickeners: to give the product consistency
  • Moisturizers: to create a barrier to lock in moisture in the skin and prevent water loss
  • Dyes: to give the product a more appealing look
  • Fragrances: to add scent to the product

Most cosmetic products will contain more than 10 toxic chemicals in each container. Every time you use it, you’re prolonging skin exposure, which can cause a number of health problems.

What Cosmetic Chemicals are Banned in Europe?

Over 1,300 cosmetic chemicals have been banned in Europe. Each of these chemicals was linked to a number of skin and health problems.

The products are regularly used though there are only small doses of these chemicals. They are absorbed through the skin and enters the body.

Which Chemicals in Makeup are Banned in Europe but are Allowed in the U.S.?

Makeup with different colors shades | Chemicals Banned From Cosmetics In Europe But Not In The US

Most cosmetic chemicals banned in Europe are still allowed in the U.S. The FDA can’t stop these chemical products from entering the market.

They can only take it off the shelves once there’s enough scientific data that show their negative health effects.

Most of these chemicals are in a lot of skin, body, hair, and makeup products:

  • 1 ,4 Dioxane in body wash, bubble bath, liquid soaps, and shampoo (considered a breast carcinogen)
  • Acrylates in artificial nails (can cause irritation around the eyes, throat, and skin)
  • Benzophenone in nail polish, lip balm, shampoo, moisturizers, fragrance, foundation, and baby sunscreens (can cause organ toxicity, cancer, and impair the endocrine system)
  • Butylated compounds in hair products, lip products, cosmetics, sunscreen, deodorant, and fragrance (can impair the endocrine system and cause organ toxicity)
  • Carbon black in mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, brow liner, lipstick, blush, foundation, and nail polish (can cause organ toxicity and cancer)
  • Coal tar in soaps, hair dyes, shampoos, and lotions is a carcinogen (can cause neurological damage and skin tumors)
  • Ethanolamine compounds in eyeliners, eyeshadows, foundation, sunscreens, blush, shaving creams, lotions, soaps, and hair care products (have been linked to liver tumors)
  • Ethyloxylated ingredients in hair care products, liquid soap, and bubble baths (contain a number of carcinogens)
  • Formaldehyde in nail polish, hair gel, eyelash glue, body wash, and baby shampoo (can cause allergic reactions, skin irritations, and cancer)
  • Fragrance in any cosmetic product often contains chemicals (can cause allergies, reproductive toxicity)
  • Homosalate in sunscreens and skin care products with SPF (can cause a hormonal imbalance)
  • Hydroquinone in skin lightening products, cleansers, moisturizers, conditioners, and nail polish (can cause organ toxicity and cancer)
  • Lead in cosmetic lip products, whitening toothpaste, nail color, sunscreen, foundations, and moisturizers (can cause nervous system, immune system, and reproductive toxicity)
  • Methylosithiazonelinone in body wash, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, lotion, mascara, makeup remover, shaving cream, and baby care products (can cause neural and lung toxicity)
  • Mica in makeup foundations is also used as filler in asphalt, cement, and insulation (can cause health problems on inhalation)
  • Nitrosamines in personal care products (considered carcinogens)
  • Octinoxate in shampoos, sunscreen, lipstick, skin creams, nail polish, and hair color products (can mimic estrogen and disrupt the endocrine system)
  • Parabens in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, body wash, and exfoliants contain chemicals (can impair the endocrine system)
  • PABA in sunscreen (can cause thyroid problems and disrupt the endocrine system)
  • Petrolatum in lotions (often contaminated by chemicals that have carcinogenic properties)
  • Phenoxyethanol in perfumes and soaps (can cause eczema, extreme allergic reactions, and impair the nervous system)
  • Polyacrylamide in anti-aging products and facial moisturizers (can enter the body and be a carcinogen)
  • Teflon in makeup foundation, pressed and loose powder, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, and mascara (can causes delays in menstruation and breast cancer)
  • Phthalates in body wash, hair care products, nail polish, and fragranced lotions (can disrupt the endocrine system, cause developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer)
  • Styrene acrylates in nail polish, sunscreen, body wash, shampoo, and eyeliner
  • Retinol compounds in lotions, foundation, and anti-aging products (considered toxic to the reproductive organs and development of a child)
  • Talc powder often contains carcinogen asbestos
  • Titanium dioxide in loose powder (can be inhaled and be a carcinogen)
  • Toluene in nail polish and hair dyes (can cause headaches, cracked skin, reproductive damage, and respiratory problems)
  • Triclosan in soaps, toothpaste, and deodorants (can cause hormonal imbalance and antibiotic resistance)

RELATED: How To Choose The Best Organic Skin Care Products For You

Where Can You Find Makeup Products Without Chemicals?

This doesn’t mean you should only buy makeup products from Europe. There are natural makeup products in U.S. organic stores that are formulated without any harmful chemicals.

If you can’t find a physical store near you, you can always look for one online. Most organic shops have a delivery service and an online catalog that lists down all of the ingredients in their products.

They also have products that are safe for the environment and aren’t tested on animals. You’ll be saving your skin, as well as the environment!

Why Should You Switch to Organic Makeup Products?

Beautiful woman wearing natural makeup | Chemicals Banned From Cosmetics In Europe But Not In The US

There are studies that show the negative effects of regular exposure to these cosmetic chemicals. Most of them contain reproductive and developmental toxins.

Despite other studies, the FDA continues to allow the use of these chemicals.

Thankfully, safe alternative cosmetics do exist. They contain only natural ingredients that won’t cause any health problems after regular use.

These ingredients are also good for your skin. The potency of these natural alternatives suits most skin types without causing irritation.


Learn these terrifying facts about makeup to keep you informed in this video from BuzzFeedVideo:

Without proper regulation in the U.S., a lot of big companies can get away with anything. They can put any type and amount of harmful chemicals in their cosmetic products without labeling them down in the ingredients list. This doesn’t mean European cosmetics are the safest option because it can still contain chemicals. The best way to prevent chemical exposure is by choosing organic and natural cosmetic products.

Do you have more questions about cosmetic chemicals banned in Europe? Mention them in the comments section below!

Up Next: 15 Hidden Toxic Ingredients In Cosmetic Products That You SHOULD Know

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