Warning: Is Bare or Natural Mineral Makeup Actually Healthy?

mineral makeup

Consumers are concerned with the health of their skin as they choose health products these days. Cosmetics are typically loaded with chemicals that are unnatural, manufactured (artificial), or otherwise not necessarily meant for putting on (or in, even through absorption) the human body. But what about bare or natural mineral makeup? These mineral makeup cosmetic products boast qualities such as being fragrance-free, color-free, and made “from the earth” and therefore are natural.

Asbestos is natural, too, but would we want to put it in our bodies? Do we want to breathe in tiny nanoparticles of TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) any more than we would talcum powder?

Mineral makeup cosmetic products may have dangerous for your health

I spoke with a PhD geologist once after buying some mineral makeup and he said, “Don’t use that! It is not safe; some of the minerals have asbestos or other hazardous ingredients in them that you should not put on your skin or inhale.”

The reason I had asked him about the mineral makeup was because the facial powders were causing my face and eyes to itch constantly, and my eyes burned and watered up continually as well.

Rocks like serpentine/serpentinites often have mineral asbestos in them, which is a chrysotile asbestos, which is thought to be linked to mesothelioma cancer. These chrysotile types of asbestos in serpentinite minerals are considered more hazardous than their amphibole (amosite, or crocidolite) cousins.

Asbestos, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency is “commonly found in ultramafic rock, including serpentine, … [typically] range from less than 1% up to about 25%, and sometimes more. Asbestos is released … when it is broken or crushed. … Once released from the rock, asbestos can become airborne and may stay in the air for long periods of time.”

The problem is not always in the mineral themselves, but that these mineral makeup products are ground up into a fine powder for facial and other applications in the cosmetic industry. Compare this with the history of what we know about talc.

Talcum powder is ground up talc, which is a mineral made up mostly of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. Talc is metamorphosed serpentine. Traditionally talc was used for baby powder, and adult and facial powders, but has been mainly replaced by the brands containing cornstarch instead since talc may contain asbestos, which may cause lung cancer.

Mica is another minerals used in mineral makeup products that may contain asbestos. Mica is not usually considered a toxic mineral due to is larger fiber size (small fiber size may cause immune cell mitosis issues), but once ground into tiny nano particles it becomes a candidate for easily lodging in the lungs if inhaled.

Health experts like Dr. Oz and cosmetic professionals warn against using mineral makeups

Even the famous Dr. Oz has been on the anti-mineral makeup bandwagon. He warns of the uses of mineral makeup due to the potential health risks.

It is better to keep minerals like TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) in cream form rather than powdered form, if you are going to use it, according to recent studies in the UK. The all-natural mineral-based sun protection products are not typically in powered form. TiO2 particles are also coated with stearic acid to help prevent interaction with any kind of living tissue. Make sure you check the ingredients of any mineral makeup product for any potentially dangerous fillers.

You can also read an article about the dangers of nanoparticles published by the Journal of Nanobiotechnology: Nanoparticles – known and unknown health risks.

Additionally, mineral makeup powders or products may increase risk to developing allergies to metals, such as gold. For me, personally, I do not even own makeup anymore, but also cannot tolerate silver already as it causes me to rash or my skin to react. My daughter, in her teens, has an allergic reaction to silver, so that if she wears sterling silver earrings it will cause her ears to rot so that the body can expel the silver. Imagine the “rot” that could occur if she took nano-sized particles of suspended colloidal silver in solution, internally! Similarly, allergies to gold can be associated with intolerances to minerals, such as are in mineral makeup.

Dr. Oz has a page that gives advice on staying away from mineral makeup since there are “no studies showing damage from makeup use to date, experts say the long-term use and inhalation of minerals in makeup can lead to inflammation, irritation and lung disease in women and girls.”

Dr. Oz, in the article entitled The Price of Beauty also has some advice for what types of cream blush or bronzer products to use instead, including anti-wrinkle creams people use for anti-aging effects. He says to look for products that are:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Color-free
  • Vitamin A-Retinol: a product that actually does work to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles
  • Vitamin C: an effective collagen builder
  • Alpha hydroxy acid: a good exfoliant and collagen builder

Dr. Oz suggest using these “products at night, because the sun will actually oxidize the ingredients and render them ineffective.” Also, he insists, stay away from lip products that contain petroleum jelly or mineral oil or any lipstick or products that advertise lip “plumping”; instead, use zinc oxide-based lip products with sunscreen, and glosses made from beeswax (these are typically non-toxic).

There are times when “natural” ingredients, like those found in mineral makeup, are okay to use, and times when they are not. Be careful to read all ingredients, and do your homework!

The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at http://www.aminoacidinformation.com and Vancouver Health News at http://www.VancouverHealthNews.ca.  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com, plus our newest portal at http://todayswordofwisdom.com.

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