Makeup can be wonderful. With the right tools and a little practice, you can cover up the evidence of a late night out or a rogue blemish. You can enhance your best facial features and downplay those you wish were a bit less prominent. Properly applied makeup can even be a confidence-booster. But could it be harming your skin?
Not all makeup is created equal
It’s true that we’re way beyond the days of cosmetics that contained truly horrifying and dangerous ingredients such as lead. But that doesn’t mean that all cosmetics are completely safe. We find out more everyday about ingredients in cosmetics, once deemed safe, that can be harmful. Parabens, once a standard preservative in many cosmetics, has become controversial since some have been found in breast cancer tumors. For more information on the safety of the ingredients in your cosmetics, see our blog “Are your cosmetics and skin care products safe?”
Could your makeup be working against you?
If your skin looks good, you feel good, and there are no “harmful” ingredients in your makeup, you’re probably fine. But there are some things you should know about how your makeup could be damaging your skin (temporarily or permanently).
- Skin needs to breathe. You should never wear makeup to bed – it should be removed at the end of the day so your skin has time to repair and replenish itself while you sleep. Makeup left on all night can clog pores, causing irritation and blemishes.
- “Natural” and/or “Organic” don’t necessarily mean “safe.” There is a big market for natural and/or organic cosmetics – people are drawn to products that seem less “processed.” But there are many plant and plant products/extracts that can be highly irritating, or even toxic. And, in some cases, the ingredients may be safe for most people, but you may have a specific allergy or sensitivity which makes it a bad choice for you.
- Makeup doesn’t last forever. While most cosmetics don’t carry a specific expiration date, it’s important that you don’t let them overstay their welcome. The general rule of thumb is to keep mascara/eye shadows/pencils, etc. for no longer than three months. For foundations, blush, etc. the rule is no longer than a year. Cosmetics can be breeding grounds for bacteria, and a bacterial infection on your face is going to be much more traumatic than going makeup free for a few days.
Watch for changes in your skin
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), you will probably notice any adverse affects of your makeup – they will manifest themselves on your skin. Unusual acne or rashes, or any other unexplained blemishes should be watched closely. Discontinue use of the product(s) that could be causing the issue, and see a dermatologist if the problem persists.