Skin Deep: Is your makeup causing serious health problems? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Skin Deep: Is your makeup causing serious health problems?

(WMC-TV) - Mineral makeup is the latest rage, but does beauty have a price?

The ads are everywhere these days.  Mineral makeup - makeup products made without harsh chemicals - are instead made with ingredients from the earth.

However, mineral makeup is nothing new.  Ancient Egyptians used ground-up copper and lead. And from the free-love era of the sixties came the commercial evolution of mineral makeup, as many women ditched dyes and preservatives for natural, finely ground minerals.

But is natural necessarily good for you?  One of the main concerns for doctors is inhaling the tiny particles from some minerals in high levels.

"The little particles, fibers, get into the peripheral, the small parts of the lungs, and irritate cells," pulmonary specialist Dr. Hugo Montenegro said.

Loose powder mineral makeup boasts full coverage like a foundation.  But a consumer watch-dog, the Environmental Working Group, says these nano-particles could be damaging when absorbed by the body, even causing emphysema-like symptoms when they get into the lungs.

Two minerals are of special concern.  First is Bismuth Oxycholoride, which gives you that pearly glow.  It is a by-product of lead refining.  The second is Mica, which is dangerous to inhale in high levels. That's why miners and construction workers protect themselves with masks.

Makeup artist Barbara Fazio suggests liquid mineral makeup over the loose powder.  Health concerns aside, she says, the loose powder isn't for everyone.

"You have to be careful about applying a powder as a base, because it tends to be drying and of course, shows the wrinkles," she said.

Fazio is not concerned about working with mineral makeup herself, and is skeptical of the anti-mineral critics.

"Who's making the claims?" she asked. "Is it a competitor making the complaint?"

But if you are concerned, expert say you should read product labels, or consider sticking to liquid makeups.

For help researching the ingredients of your mineral, follow this link:

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