Why is mascara bad?

Not all mascara is bad for you, but for the ones that are, here’s why.

Warning: After this read, you may want to rethink the next time you put on that wear-resistant, waterproof mascara.

In a 2021 published study in the Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the authors state that of the 231 cosmetic products purchased,

“Three-quarters of waterproof mascara samples contained high fluorine concentrations, as did nearly two-thirds of foundations and liquid lipsticks, and more than half of the eye and lip products tested.”

Fluorinated Compounds in North American Cosmetics Study

Why is Mascara Bad? Fluorine & PFAS

The Environmental Science & Technology Letters study addresses how finding fluorine indicates a possible presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (known as PFAS). These are chemicals in makeup that may not have found their way onto the ingredients label…. interesting, right?

PFAS help makeup be durable and spreadable.

Environmental Science & Technology Study

In a WebMD post, a professor of environmental chemistry at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health by the name of Elsie Sunderland, PhD, states, “PFAS are a large class of chemicals. In humans, exposure to some of these chemicals has been associated with impaired immune function, certain cancers, increased risks of diabetes, obesity and endocrine disruption. They appear to be harmful to every major organ system in the human body.”

If that doesn’t convince you, you can check out the CDC’s perspective on PFAS as well.

The consistent use of makeup on the largest organ of your body has a long term impact on your overall health. Your skin absorbs what you put on, so be smart about what goes on your face and your skin.

How do I avoid Fluorine and PFAS?

Completely avoiding fluorine and PFAS is a challenge due to lack of regulations and requirements. Additionally, fluorine and PFAS can also be found in contaminated water and foods, making it difficult to stay on top of everything.

Here’s what you can do to reduce exposure:

1. Read the ingredients

2. Buy natural, organic makeup

3. Drink filtered, uncontaminated water

4. Simply do your best

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