Get the facts: Could your beauty products be affecting your health?

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Ever wondered what’s in your makeup or beauty products? If you look at the back of a bottle, the ingredient list seems never ending. Containing a long list of words, we can hardly say, let alone spell!  

But does it matter? Do we really need to know what’s in the products we use? The answer is yes! Not only can these ingredients be terrible for the environment, but they can also be dramatically affecting your health. It pays to know what to look out for!

Talcum Powder:

Talcum powder or talc, is a commonly used product and can be found in most Australian homes. It’s known as the ‘go to’ product to help alleviate irritation, cuts and burns. The velvety, white, fluffy powder is also used as a filler ingredient in makeup, cleaning products and even some foods. In February Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $72 million (USD) to a family who lost their loved one to ovarian cancer due to using talc based products, which were sourced by the company.

So what makes this seemingly harmless powder deadly? Talc is a natural mineral, however the issue is that the product is also found near and around the mineral asbestos, which as you may know is a carcinogenic. This means talc powder can often contain asbestos ore. Because of this Talc is classified as a health, physicochemical and/or ecotoxicological hazard, according to the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances. If you are purchasing products containing talc don’t fret! Just ensure they are certified as asbestos free.

Coal Tar:

We’re all guilty of getting our hair coloured form time-to-time, but did you realise that your appointment with your hairdresser might be causing you more harm than good. Hair dyes, psoriasis treatments and anti-dandruff shampoos all contain Coal Tar. Coal Tar is a known carcinogen. In Australia all products containing coal tar need to have clear warning labels listed and are not recommended for continual use. Coal tar causes DNA damage and increases your sensitivity to the sun and therefore you can become more susceptible to skin cancers. Stay clear of all products by actively checking the labels before the point of purchase!


Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are produced from oil. Often they are a key ingredient used to soften and water down products.

You’ll find that phthalates are in pretty much any and every household item: from nail polish, toys, perfume, printing inks and even varnish. Europe and America have banned several of these chemicals however, here, in Australia DEHP is the only phthalate banned. Product Safety Australia states “The main health concern associated with some phthalates is that animal studies have shown that high regular doses can affect the reproductive system in developing young, particularly males”.

Follow these tips to limit your exposure:

  • Use a stainless steel or glass water bottle instead of plastic.
  • If plastics have to be used make sure that they specify that they are BPA free.
  • Use reusable grocery bags instead of plastic or paper bags.
  • Stop buying foods that are pre packaged in plastics.
  • Switch plastic storage containers for glass or stainless steel.
  • Try to not use plastic wraps or cling wrap to cover your food.
  • Use glass or metal cookware and silver-wear instead of plastics.
  • Reduce use of canned food and drink as they are frequently lined with BPA.
  • Use Natural Skincare products and cosmetics.
  • Try using essential oils instead of commercial perfumes.

If you’d like to learn more about chemicals to steer clear of make sure you check out CHOICE’s list! Arm yourself with knowledge so you and your family can live a safer and more chemically clean life.

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