5 Banned Ingredients in Cosmetics

These ingredients could’ve made you look spectacular, but on the inside it is a different story.

Cosmetics/ Makeup is a worldwide use for women especially and will only continue to elevate. Some companies used this as an opportunity to seek large masses of profit in a profound open market. However, intentional or unintentional some harmful ingredients used within your probable favourite product(s) could have been inserted to help you see the best results. Here are 5 ingredients that were banned in the use of cosmetics due to the damage and potential harm they caused.


1) Bithionol

Molec Formula of Bithionol

Molecular Formula of Bithionol

Bithionol is a chemical that acted as a resistant to bacteria i.e. an antibacterial. It was commonly used in shampoos, creams and lotions. With a molecular formula of C12H6CI4O2S (yes that can be a mouthful), nothing seemed wrong with using Bithionol until people started experienced serious skin problems. Tests were conducted and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), concluded that Bithionol enhanced photosensitivity in people causing their skin to be more prone to damage and disease. Skin disorders as well were caused by the use of this chemical.

On the date of October 24th 1967, the use of Bithionol was banned and any product containing the ingredient had to either adjust their ingredients or were prohibited. It is officially condemned under section 601 in the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


2) Chloroform

Bottles of Chloroform

Chloroform (CHCl3) was another common use in cosmetics. After further research was done in the ingredient, there were strong correlations with cancer in animals such as liver cancer in rats. Chloroform was banned because of the potential cancer it could have caused in humans as well as damaging the Central Nervous System (CNS) in the short run. The ban came about in April 1976 and the use is forbidden under sections 301 and 601 of the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


3) Vinyl Chloride

Molecular Formula of Vinyl Chloride

Many cosmetic aerosols and hairsprays used Vinyl Chloride. Vinyl Chloride can become deadly if sprayed in a small area (i.e. in a small room where the door and windows are shut) due to the ingredient being compactly surrounded in the air rather than sparsely spread out in a larger space. Inhaling it can cause some drastic problems such as headaches, dizziness and some signs of toxicity. However the major problem surrounding the ingredient is that studies have shown that it can cause cancer and liver disease. USA’s CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) banned the use of vinyl chloride in aerosols and cosmetics early August 1974. It is also another ingredient barred from use under section 601 of the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


4) Hexachlorophene

Hexachlorophene’s Molceular Formula

Hexachlorophene (referred to as HCP) was used mainly in antibacterials and disinfectants relating to cosmetics. The announce on the ban of HCP by the FDA was on September 22nd 1972 which the actual article can be found here. After results showed that approximately 40 babies were killed due to excess doses of the ingredient being used in talcum powder the FDA used this as strong  evidence to prohibit HCP in cosmetics. HCP was alarmingly hazardous as it could pass through your skin enabling toxics to enter your body.

Furthermore major health problems such as nausea, vomiting, irritations to several
parts of the body, brain damage, blindness and even cancer could have been caused from it. HCP in cosmetics is now forbidden and rightfully so.


5) Methylene chloride/ Dichloromethane 

Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride was prominently found in cosmetic aerosols especially hairsprays and some uses also came in the form of nail polish as well. Several studies were conducted over a certain time period over animals about the effects of the ingredient on them. Results indicated that there were cases of cancer. Benign and Malignant tumours spurred from the cases and the ban upon Methylene Chloride came in the early 1970’s due to these incidents.


These banned ingredients were luckily banned decades ago but some undiscovered ingredients may still become evident nowadays. However authorities such as the FDA are cracking down hard on providing the best safety in cosmetics due to the high usage and demand for such products.

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