General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Does long term use and exposure to eye shadow and similar chemicals lead to skin abrasion and skin disease?

Asked by elbanditoroso (28860points) May 26th, 2015

Many women spend significant amounts of time applying eye shadow and similar cosmetic substances to call attention to their eyes and presumably to look beautiful.

And then before sleeping, I have observed, they spend (less but still significant) time washing that eye shadow off.

Does long term, repeated exposure to all of those eye-enhancement chemicals cause any damage to the skin? Is skin-disease or scan cancer a risk?

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22 Answers

chyna's avatar

I don’t think so. Make up is tested and re-tested and has been for years. On animals sadly.
I would think that actors would have the most issues especially if they were child actors and had to wear heavy make up most of their lives. I have never heard of these issues though.

cazzie's avatar

The ‘chemicals’ are very inert. The colours themselves are made out of pigments that don’t react with skin. They are non-reactive oxides. They used to not be. Women used to cover their faces with things filled with lead and mercury, but, thank goodness, we know better now.

To wash them off, most things are, again, very safe. Usually a mix of oil and surfactant that helps lift the oil/pigment mix off the skin.

The biggest risk to women’s skin is the sun (or artificial tanning salons) and smoking.

People can have sensitivities to things like propylene glycol and that should be taken into account with using leave-on products. Some people can have latex allergies that are so bad that they can’t use moisturizers with shea butter in them, these are rare cases.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I think there is probably a small risk, but as @cazzie says, sun and smoking would be worse.

This might be an appropriate place to leave this story about nail salon workers being poisoned daily by the chemicals they apply to their clients. Scary stuff that we never think about.

JLeslie's avatar

For practically my whole life I have heard from various people how bad make-up is and how it clogs pours, etc. I don’t buy it. I’m no a scientist or a dermatologist, but my guess is the 70 year old women who most of their lives wore a face full of make up have less wrinkled skin than their naked faced counterparts. The foundation provided some protection from the sun back when women were not using face lotions and foundations with SPF.

I have never had acne problems (although I do get a pimple now and then) and not removing my makeup before sleep for weeks on end has never caused me acne. I do believe for some people their acne is aggravated by make-up.

Plus, I’m so dry I will at least have some sort of moisturizer on.

I guess maybe it is healthier to just be au natural as long as you are shaded from the sun, but I don’t think make up is significantly negatively impacting my skin health or overall health.

I am allergic to some sort of natural ingredient. It seems to be natural. If a product boasts about being bio something or having natural extracts I have about a 50% chance I will be red within a minute of putting it on. I haven’t narrowed down what specific ingredients it is, but since my reaction is fast it just takes a quick test usually to know.

@cazzie I didn’t know that about shea butter. That is very helpful to me.

JLeslie's avatar

By the way, men are much more likely to get skin cancers. Probably because they don’t use cosmetics (lotions and make-up) as much as women while out in the sun. Possibly the chemicals are killing women a different way, but it’s doubtful.

jca's avatar

I try to avoid buying any cosmetic or soap product that is made in China, as they have had incidents of toys with higher than legal levels of lead in them and the whole pet food that killed the pets and was made in China also doesn’t help my confidence in Chinese products.

snowberry's avatar

I am a health nut. Cosmetics are safe enough that your skin won’t sluff off if you wear it for a long time, but the skin IS porous and the ingredients can enter the body. Keep in mind that if you rub garlic on your feet, you’ll have it on your breath in an hour. Once in the body, it has to deal with the additional toxic load.

My alternative medical doctor has told me that most cosmetics are NOT safe. The FDA has very loose guidelines as to what is safe, and in addition, the officers often have conflicts of interest in industry.

Take perfumes for example. 200 years ago the ingredients in perfumes were not toxic. Now they’re mostly man made chemicals, and very few of them are “safe” even though the FDA has allowed them to be sold for decades. I have met many women who have worked at perfume counters and gone home with migraines every day.

I have learned to take a second look at anything the FDA declares as safe, because it’s probably not. :)

cazzie's avatar

@snowberry Not everything will go through the skin barrier. It is a very effective barrier. I know the guy who invented the nicotine patch. He knows a lot about the skin barrier.

You are also wrong about what you say about perfume ingredients.

one wonders what ‘alternative’ medical school your ‘doctor’ went to.

snowberry's avatar

Dear cazzie, I appreciate your input. But at this point, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

You are right in that NOT ALL ingredients enter the skin, but many do (lotions often contain petroleum products and alcohol which is an effective agent to cause the skin to absorb these chemicals, and we slather them all over our skin). In addition we eat lots more, (lipstick) and absorb plenty through the eyes (makeup) and lungs (perfumes). So I’m not wrong, but you certainly are free to disagree and I’m OK with that. Here’s an article from CBS regarding lipstick and lip balm.


cazzie's avatar

You are right about the non testing of toxicity of lipsticks and lip preparations. But the alcohol ether in lotions don’t do what you think. Science is pretty cool. You should look into it.
(and because of my background I didn’t have to check your link to know about how the consumption of lip products haven’t been tested for. I sort of guessed because I already knew about this gap in testing…. because I know about scientific tests….)

cazzie's avatar

the risks that have been identified in perfumes are linked to the ‘natural’ ingredients… not the man made ones…..

snowberry's avatar

Cazzie, I ran a cleaning business for 30 years. I have read the ingredients in the “perfumes” they put in room deodorizers for example. None of them are “natural”. They are man made chemicals, and none of them are beneficial to the human body. One of them that I can actually pronounce is ACETONE, and you get a dose of that crap every time you enter a public restroom.

Just because you don’t like my answers, doesn’t mean I’m not aware of how things work. And just because a scientist developed it doesn’t mean it’s smart.

Example: Scientists have developed many poison ivy treatments. Most of the over-the-counter remedies have alcohol in them, which only serves to dissolve the Urushiol Oil (the noxious substance in poison ivy) and spreads it around!. So please @cazzie, hold off on the insults. Adding drama to this discussion isn’t helping (per your avatar).

cazzie's avatar

Acetone is NOT an ingredient added for scent. Try again. I am not saying that because a scientist made it means it is a good thing. Not at all. I am encouraging everyone to know what the ingredients are and use science-based proof for their reasoning.

cazzie's avatar

And it isn’t that I don’t ‘like’ your answers. ‘Like’ has nothing to do with it. I’m correcting factual errors.

snowberry's avatar

@cazzie Agreed, Acetone is probably NOT an ingredient added for scent. But they (scientists I suppose) put it in there anyway, for whatever reason they had. Every single can of deodorizer that I’ve had the opportunity to read had that as an ingredient. I’ve read a lot of them, because I had to install them.

cazzie's avatar

So… do you know what acetone is? and if you ran a business for 30 years, why did you use air freshener with acetone in it?

snowberry's avatar

@cazzie I am in the USA. In my business, I cleaned homes and offices. If my employer asked me to replace a certain “deodorizer” in his bathroom, that’s what I did (they install these battery operated deodorizer machines close to the ceiling of public restrooms). Anyway if I didn’t do it, I’d have lost my job. Regardless, I certainly didn’t like it, and often told my boss so, and I made a point of showing him the ingredients on the label. Many of them came around to my way of thinking, and if it was a owner-operator business, they’d often choose something else. But if it was a corporate run business, there was nothing any of us could do, but put up with the smell and the chemicals. I retired before those scented “Plug-ins” that they sell in stores here became so popular, but now I simply won’t enter a home that has them running.

I learned to take a deep breath and run in and turn off the automatic function on the thing, prop the door open and open a window just so I could clear out the air enough to clean the bathroom. Then just before leaving I’d turn it on again. Ugh!

cazzie's avatar

Ah… so you didn’t run your business… you were an employed cleaner… that makes more sense.

snowberry's avatar

—@cazzie Actually I DID run my own business. I suppose I confused you by calling my clients my employer. In the US here what I did is called a “private contractor”. I had to keep my own records which meant doing everything from tracking receipts to MSDS paperwork (a government requirement). I had to pay for my own insurance and pay my own taxes because our government does not force a business owners’ clients to take taxes out for them. It was my own responsibility to with hold my own taxes.

I cleaned for many individuals and companies. I was my own boss, but I also had no employees, because I didn’t want the headache of managing a whole crew of people. If I didn’t want to clean a job, I declined it. But if I chose to clean for someone, then that person was my boss on THAT job. I imagine it works pretty much the same way where you are if you’re in business for yourself.

Some of the people I cleaned for were allergic to man made cleaning products, so I researched and developed my own non-toxic cleaning methods and cleaning supplies to suit their needs.

I have also cleaned as an employee for a nation wide company, and managed a janitorial team. I know the cleaning business very well.—

cazzie's avatar

Acetone is a solvent. It is a pretty nasty chemical and I would avoid it in high concentrations. It is a common nail polish remover. Nail salons are pretty toxic.

My sister loves those plug in things. She is a heavy smoker and can’t smell very well. I think they should be banned.

snowberry's avatar

—@cazzie Yep, I know about acetone! It freaks me out! I just checked Glade’s website and they list their ingredients for Glade automatic spray (quite similar to the stuff I had to use). Notice that acetone is listed as a “carrier”.

So there’s your explanation. “It’s not harmful; it’s just a carrier!” I’ve walked into countless rooms where this chemical cocktail is so strong you can taste it on your tongue, and it sure doesn’t smell like berries or flowers or anything nice. Ick!

I am now like my former clients with chemical sensitivities. I find that many fragrances and aerosols give me asthma. Have you ever tried holding your breath while you make a dash to the restroom? I’ve tried, but I can’t do it.— :(

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