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Is Mineral Makeup Dangerous to Long-Term Health?

By Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger
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First, we’re told liquid makeup has harmful chemicals and mineral makeup is healthier. Now, a well-known medical professional says mineral makeup is more dangerous than liquid.

An obscure product just a few years ago, mineral makeup is now part of nearly every cosmetic brand’s product line. Millions of women use it, many of them doing so because they wanted to stop using liquid foundations which put chemical ingredients into their skin. A key selling point for mineral products is that they come from the earth and consist of natural minerals such as zinc and titanium. That doesn’t mean they don't contain chemicals, minerals are made up of chemical elements, but since the companies don’t put in additional chemical ingredients they claim the products are purer.

Web M.D. offers different points of view on mineral makeup. On the one hand, they state key ingredients have been the basis of most makeup foundations for decades and quote an expert who calls mineral makeup marketing hype. On the other hand, Web M.D. states, “dermatologists report that because mineral makeup frequently eliminates classic ‘irritants’ – like fragrances, binders, synthetic dyes and preservatives -- it is considered ‘purer’ and can be kinder to the skin.”

Dr. Oz Says Throw Out Your Mineral Makeup:

Thousands of women are now wondering whether or not to use these products. On a television show segment about the most dangerous beauty products, Dr. Mehmet Oz declared mineral makeup unsafe and told women to stop using it.

From Dr. Oz. com, “Mineral makeup is a big trend. Made from minerals such as mica, which are used for industrial purposes as well, these tiny particles are a thousand times smaller than predecessors from even 10 years ago. Their small size makes for a smoother, more flawless look, but it has one serious unintended consequence. The particles are so tiny they fall quickly through the air and can be inhaled easily into your lungs. When construction workers use mica in products such as spackle, they wear masks to protect their lungs from scarring over time.

Add a Comment17 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This is very interesting. I am a healthy, non-smoking 42 year old female who has been using mineral make up for about three years now. I was recently diagnosed with a 4 inch tumor on my left lung and my lung specialist and I have been racking our brains trying to figure out what I have been exposed to. The center of the tumor is dead but the PET scan shows activity and he is convinced that it was caused by something in the environement that I have been exposed to over a long period of time. I am meeting with a surgeon next week to schedule surgery to have it removed.

December 10, 2010 - 3:52pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

I'm sorry to hear that you're experiencing this. Your comments are very interesting and I certainly hope that you are able to find out exactly what's caused the tumor.

You may also want to explore your area's air quality reports. I live in an area in which invisible air pollution particulates are causing severe lung damage to many people, and it's now showing up in issues affecting young children. Just a thought...

Will you keep us posted and let us know what you learn?

December 10, 2010 - 3:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

These women who complain deserve all the health problems they get from using MM and deserve to be clueless as to where they come from! When you present someone with the truth and they get upset and go in denial and shoot the messenger, that is the epitome of idiot right there! These women need to grow up and get a clue! I say let them inhale & die! Survival of the fittest, they won’t be missed! Look if you’re that stupid that you’re going to believe Bare Escentuals, who uses TOXIC ingredients including bismuth chloride (sp? just look it up!) and tells you it’s not dangerous because they’ve done their own studies, you’re as stupid as those who believed that cigarettes are safe when the studies were funded by the cig companies! (or those who believe GMOs are safe because Moronsanto funds the studies and fires those who find out how lethal GMOs are. No matter, the proof is out there, google it!)

You don’t need a darn scientific study. All you need is to do is figure out where your breathing problems & rashes are coming from. If you stop using the mineral makeup & it clears up, there’s your scientific study! Just do a search: there’s tons of forum posts from women who react badly to mineral makeup mostly BE because of their toxic ingredients! There are alternatives.

Who are you going to believe? The good doctor (and we finally have one out there speaking out on US TV, a miracle in itself) or the company who stands to lose millions in lawsuits if you find out the reason you buried your mom is because she inhaled too many particles of mineral makeup! To those who chose to use BE MM do so while facing the truth. Denial won't stop cancer or allergies!

August 9, 2010 - 7:56am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Wow. A little harsh perhaps? Your message might be more effective if you hadn't wished death and disease on people. Beware. You reap what you sow, and that includes the energy you send out.

June 4, 2013 - 11:01am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I've been using BE MM for the last couple of years and have had no problems whatsoever. It's the liquid stuff that causes me problems. I have psoriasis around my eyes and nose, as well as my right hand, and BE doesn't cause it to get itchy at all. With the liquid stuff, I was always picking and scratching, not to mention the nasty blackheads it caused. I don't get it through the mail but go to a Sephora store whenever I need more.

I've been wearing makeup for almost 25 years, and BE is the only brand that has never caused me problems. That, and hey, I look and feel pretty wearing it. :) If some people are having issues with it, I wouldn't be surprised, because someone is always allergic to something, and when it comes to makeup, there are bound to be issues for a lot of women.

So if I'm an idiot for continuing to use it, so be it. I really don't care what some anonymous person posts on the Interwebz, and Dr. Oz is just like all the other doctors I've ever met - a waffling, sanctimonious harpy. I also smoke, eat some processed foods and go bar hopping on occasion. I'd rather be happy by taking chances and dying early than being safe and living a long, boring life.

Lori Dake,
Chicago, IL

September 30, 2010 - 10:51am
EmpowHER Guest

My 13 year old daughter almost died from pneumonia which we believe was caused by using Mary Kay's mineral loose foundation/powder. We have no absolute proof yet, but they have run hundreds of tests, infectious disease doctors, 4 days in the hospital and have found nothing infectious. She does have seasonal asthma which may have also been a factor. I took her to her pediatrician on Monday & they said it was a virus. By Wednesday she could barely breathe & I rushed her to the ER, where they admitted her with full blown pneumonia.. GET THIS STORY OUT & BE CAREFUL!!! I was selling Mary Kay and now do not use mineral makeup or loose powder of any kind.. Deanna F/ Houston

July 28, 2010 - 8:18pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Deanna - I'm sorry to hear about your daughter and hope her recovery is going well. I too have asthma, and I have had one occasion where it developed into pneumonia.

As the EmpowHER news article states, there are different types of mineral make ups and only a very small percentage of mineral make up is the type that may be dangerous. Some use ultra-fine particles, called nanoparticles, which can be inhaled and embedded in the lungs.

Most mineral make-ups, however, DO NOT use nanoparticles. They use larger micronized ingredients that they state are too large to penetrate the lungs and cells.

The data on exactly which type of particle this particular company uses is not readily available. You may want to contact them directly for this information to help determine whether the make-up had any potential to have a role in your daughter's illness.

Best wishes to you both,

July 28, 2010 - 8:48pm

Pat, please cover methylparbens, triclosan, 1,4 dioxane, nitrosamines, PEG's and other known carcinogens and toxic ingredeints. Everyone needs to learn more about the dangers we all face. Ava's FB page regularly lists article links relating to environmental toxins.

The average baby in 2004 (EWG, Red Cross) was born with 287 chemicals in their cord blood.

Phthalates are in most of what we use, and phthalates are being linked to autism, ADHD, and behavioral problems, reduced sperm counts and a host of other issues, including cancer. This is so important for people to realize.

Thank you.

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February 18, 2010 - 5:48am

Rosa, pleaase look up all of your products. You will be shocked what you find.

Check out Ava Anderson's products... hers is the first line, ever, where every ingredient in every product is a "0" on the cosmetics database.com. She has great information on her site.

For instance, look out for the word "fragrance" on your ingredient label. Manufacturers can legally hid up to 600 chemicals in that one word. It is called trade secret. Accoridng to EWG (Environmental Working Group) who tested products with the word "fragrance" on the label, 83% are hiding phthalates. Look up phthalates on Ava's toxic page.... this is not anything that you want ot be slathering on your skin (and into your blood stream...) or your children's.

Also, Europe has 1,324 banned ingredients, the USA has 9. So, manufacturers must clean up their products to distribute overseas, but leave the toxic chemicals in for us!

The word "natural" menas nothing. I guarantee you that your lipstick is at least a 5, and probably more like a 7-9 on the database. Remember, that it is not about the overall score, you must click on the product and scroll down to the disease implications of your ingredients..... you are going to be shocked.

BTW, Ava just turned 16.

[Link Removed by EmpowHer Moderator]

February 18, 2010 - 5:44am
EmpowHER Guest

Well, if you are listening to Dr. Oz then lipgloss is dangerous as well.

February 9, 2010 - 10:16am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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