How To Avoid The Harmful Ingredient That's In Nearly Half Of All Beauty Products

As the clean beauty revolution continues to take off, more and more ingredients have made the no-fly list. While it may seem like the list is impossible to keep track of, there are certain heavy ingredients you should always remember to avoid. According to Mindbodygreen, there's yet another chemical that should never go anywhere near your body or face — and it's in almost half of all American and Canadian cosmetics.

A new study recently revealed that polyfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFAS) may be a staple in your makeup bag. PFAS are often found in items like cookware and serve as an industrial compound that may cause serious health issues, the outlet reports. Perhaps the most damaging information from the study, many of these products' labels didn't note that they contained PFAS, while the testing showed that they contained a lot of fluorine — and large amounts of fluorine usually denotes the presence of PFAS. 

The outlet notes that many of the studies performed involved people who had a high exposure to PFAS, but nonetheless, these compounds were linked to weakened immunity, various cancers and lower birth weight. According to The Guardian, half of 231 products including eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, nail polish, blush, concealer and more each had markers for high levels of fluorine — indicating the presence of PFAS.

Waterproof mascaras and foundations had the highest incidence of PFAS

As for which products reported the highest amounts of these chemicals, 82% of waterproof mascaras, 63% of foundations and 62% of liquid lipsticks contained elevated amounts of fluorine, The Guardian reports. Making matters more concerning, these chemicals are dubbed "forever chemicals" due to their ability to build up in humans and because they don't readily break down. The most common places to find the industrial compound is in food packaging and as an ingredient that makes carpet water and stain resistant. When used in personal care products, they can seriously impact your biological processes.

Even the researchers were taken back by the levels of fluorine that they found. Tom Bruton, a senior scientist with Green Science Policy Institute and an author of the study said, "This is the first study to look at total fluorine or PFAS in cosmetics so we just didn't know what we were going to find. This is a product that people are spreading on their skin day after day, so there's really a potential for significant exposure."

PFAS have long been ingredients in cosmetics, Mindbodygreen attests, but they've declined in use over the years due to their correlation with various illnesses. Today, labels don't denote PFAS as ingredients, meaning that there's no way to tell for sure which products to stay away from. However, the outlet suggests steering clear from anything that's considered "long wear" since the "forever chemical" is more likely found in these types of cosmetics.

Until there's more regulation around this area, stick with clean products that don't tout "long lasting" on the label.