10 Things the Toxic Makeup Patrol Should Learn

There is little that frustrates me more than ignorance masquerading as authority. It is particularly galling when the fake authority is making claims about cosmetics, a subject of which I have a good deal of knowledge. While there are a number of reasons that this troubles me, the main reason is because I know how long I’ve studied, how much I’ve read, and how complicated the topic can be. It is not something that a person with limited or no science background can just research on Google and automatically become an expert. It offends me when someone does that. Knowledge requires work and effort to obtain!

Usually, the people who do this are well-meaning and sincerely believe they are helping people. They are not. They are unnecessarily scaring people and spreading ignorance. They are also causing people to waste money on cosmetics that are NOT more safe.

Despite my personal indignation, I do appreciate the Toxic Makeup Patrol‘s enthusiasm. So perhaps they would be interested to learn the truth and stop spreading lies and misinformation. Here are a number of claims that the Toxic Makeup Patrol makes that are just mistaken.

10 Myths about Toxic Makeup

1. “Lead in lipstick is dangerous.” It is not. There is no evidence that if people use lipstick that contains trace levels of lead, it will have any impact on their health. Read more truth about lead in lipstick. Incidentally, in the video the interviewer also says that their is Mercury in lipstick. This is just wrong.

2. “Cancer rates are increasing.” – The author begins with an interesting question, “Did you know that 100 years ago only one in 800 people got cancer and today one in three women will get cancer?” She then goes on to say that is because of poor diets, lack of exercise and our toxic environment. This is wrong. The number one reason that more people get cancer today is because people live longer! Cancer is mostly a disease of older adults. The average life expectancy of people 100 years ago was about 51 years. The truth is cancer rates are decreasing.

3. “One-third of personal hygiene products contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer.” – No, they don’t.

4. “We absorb 5 lbs. of chemicals in our bodies from the make-up and products we apply every year.” No, we don’t.

5. “Go to the Skin Deep Database to run a check before you shop” – No you shouldn’t. The Skin Deep database is filled with unreliable, non-scientific information.

6. “Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLS)*” – SLS is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. It’s a different chemical.

7. “Germall plus is not a synthetic preservative.” – Yes it is. It is actually a formaldehyde donor compound. Perfectly safe but completely synthetic.

8. “Aloe increases shelf life.” No, it doesn’t. Aloe actually decreases shelf life and is one reason you have to include preservatives in your formulation.

9. “Parabens are associated with cancer.” No, they are not. The safety of parabens was reviewed by an independent scientific organization in the EU and declared safe. Read more here.

10. “Putting cosmetics on your body over years leads to cancer.” There is no evidence of this at all.

Toxins on the brain

Somewhere along the line the Internet convinced people that all they had to do was spend a little time searching for things on Google and they can be an expert. Well, the thing about the Internet is that

Anyone can write anything about anything

This does not make it true.

If you are not an expert in the subject, you really should not go around harassing and scaring people with your misinformed opinions.  Even though you are well-meaning, please make it a point to be informed about a topic.  Read what scientists and people who actually do research have to say.  Avoid bloggers and especially the PR group that is the EWG.


  • Dene Godfrey

    Spot on, Perry! The Toxic Make-up Patrol is certainly well-meaning, but highly misleading. This ties in so well with my “Do Your Own Research” post here!

  • Amanda

    As a non-scientist (who has only taken a small handful of college-leve science courses), I read the linked article on parabens.While it seems that they’re not associated with cancer, it does appear that some parabens are known hormone-disrupters. I don’t really know what that means, but if it’s something that affects my hormone levels, that sounds like a bad thing. I would love the hear the author’s thoughts on this.

    • Perry Romanowski

      I would encourage you to read Dene’s series on Parabens in cosmetics.  The first one starts here.  
      http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/11/parabens-in-perspective-part-i/  He reviews all the science and all the arguments about the use of parabens in a much better way than I could here in a comment.

      Ultimately, this is a topic that is very complicated and the studies are pretty boring to read especially if you are not a scientist specifically interested in the topic of paraben toxicology.  I’m not.  For this reason, I defer to the opinions of scientists and researchers who are.  

      Their opinion…parabens as used in cosmetics are safe & not something that consumers should worry about.  Parabens from your cosmetics will not affect your hormone levels.

    • http://www.reconnective-health.com/ Sima

      Parabens are food additives too and have been for many years with no side effects that I know of. Many “natural” foods are hormone disruptors such soy milk and other non fermented soy products (high instances of phytoestrogens). But yeah, read Dene’s article it goes through this in much better detail.

    • http://twitter.com/SarasSoaps Sara Nesbitt

      I believe, too, that the FDA has determined that the body naturally produces 10,000 times more parabens than are found in a batch of lotion.  Now think about how much of that batch you put on your skin.  It’s a pretty negligible amount.

      • Dene Godfrey

        I have never heard that claim before, Sara. Do you have a reference to this because, I have to be honest, it sounds extremely unlikely to be correct? Human cells (ALL living cells, in fact) produce 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, which is both the main precursor and the main metabolite of all the parabens, but I’ve never seen a figure for this either.

  • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

    THANK YOU…..AMEN….And everything in between….nuff said.

  • Stacy

     I’m so over the crazies that walk around promoting this stuff. Thank you for this article!

  • Sagescript

    The most important thing here is that ‘anyone can write anything’ on the internet – and they do. As someone who has written a bit for magazines etc I know that editors put pressure on writers to write sensationalism because it sells. The internet has gotten to be filled with ‘content farm’ where writers slap together anything in a few minutes just to get hits. Unfortunately, people are getting information there!

  • http://profiles.google.com/nancyaliedel Nancy Liedel

    The EWG. They have done some real good and some real bad. REALLY bad. Terrifying people into fear of safe products so much that untested preservatives, minimally tested, are hitting the market and not passing challenge tests. I can’t work with those and I want to hit natural markets.I have a local shop that rejected my lotion because there was a preservative in it. They only take oil in water lotions without preservatives. The samples are off, smell off, look off, OFF. Someone is supposed to put that on their face? I would rather get a safe preservative on my skin, than put staph on it. Seriously. I am far more worried about my food, the air I breathe, the water I drink. I have children with special needs. FOUR of them. I didn’t birth two of them and the two I did birth? No cosmetics, but a lot of strange hospital food. We worry so much about makeup, as we go through the drive throughs at fast food chains. 

    It’s not the makeup. It’s not lotion, it’s accumulation over time of a lot of scary things and we’re living longer than ever. There are plenty of products I will not use. I am dead careful about it and do some serious research, but preservatives that cannot show they work? I won’t put my customers in that much danger. I am putting someone else’s face in my hands. They are trusting me. I cannot offer them an inferior product that will not hold up over time. I don’t go whole hog with the stuff, just as much efficacy as possible, as few ingredients as possible and NO medical claims. I follow the law. I lose sales because of it. It stinks, but I can look in the mirror. 

    I know people think I’m just horrible for this stance. I hear it a lot. I also know I have safety in mind. I would never put anything on a customers face, I would not allow my two boys with autism to use. BTW, we had a well and a Dioxin release while I was pregnant with both of them. We were downstream. I really think there was something to do with that. I believe, personally, after much reading, thinking and reading, that autism is a genetic trait with an environmental trigger. So, I very, very much care about my environment and what goes in and on my family. 

    • http://www.sterlingminerals.com/ Katherine

      Wonderful….you are preaching to the scientific choir.  So happy to see others are finally getting the real story and that most of what the EWG reports is without foundational fact, just supposition with alot of posturing. 

      Thanks Nancy for your contribution.