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Top 5 American Beauty Ingredients That Are Banned in Other Countries

VO: Lisa Yang
Script written by Savannah Sher These American Beauty Ingredients are banned in other countries but in the states they’re still legal. Next time you’re buying cosmetics, read the labels carefully and do some research because some of these ingredients can cause cancer! Be aware of ingredients like Chemicals, Parabens, Petroleum and Liquid Formaldehyde.

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Top 5 American Beauty Ingredients That Are Banned in Other Countries

The FDA doesn’t exactly set the gold standard when it comes to potentially harmful cosmetics additives. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 5 American Beauty Ingredients That Are Banned in Other Countries.
For this list, we’re looking chemicals, materials and more found in beauty products sold in the U.S.A. but that are otherwise prohibited elsewhere.

#5: Parabens

If there’s one ingredient that has been hotly debated in the beauty industry in the early 21st century... it’s parabens. These preservatives are typically used in hair, skincare and makeup products to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. In the European Union and some parts of Asia however, the use of several different parabens have been banned because of studies showing a potential risk to human health. While they are not banned in the States, that shouldn’t necessarily inspire confidence. Unfortunately, despite common misconception, the FDA doesn’t actually need to approve cosmetic products or their ingredients – other than color additives - for them to hit shelves.

#4: Petroleum [aka Petrolatum & Paraffin]

A product that has probably been in your medicine cabinet for decades has been the subject of some scrutiny in the E.U. with unrefined versions of the product being labeled carcinogenic. Petroleum Jelly, most commonly recognized under the brand name Vaseline, is made as a derivative of refined oil. While the Vaseline brand assures users that its product has gone through a triple purification process and is non-toxic, and most experts deem it to be perfectly safe, you should be wary of using any less reputable off-brands, which may not be produced to the same high standards. If you’re at all concerned, there are lots of all-natural alternatives out there, and it’s actually very easy to make your own DIY equivalent.

#3: Liquid Formaldehyde

Like parabens, formaldehyde is used in beauty products ranging from hair treatments and nail products to skincare and makeup. While banned outright in Sweden and Japan, and considered to be a known carcinogen by The World Health Organization and the US government, it still lurks, undetected in many products we use every day. The problem is, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see the substance itself listed on a product’s ingredient list. This is because cosmetics companies actually use “formaldehyde releasers,” which go under a variety of different names, and produce formaldehyde when used. Researching brands or switching to all-natural products can help you avoid this insidious ingredient.

#2: "Fragrance"

There is an issue in the beauty industry referred to as the “fragrance loophole” - which permits ingredients to be included in a product without actually listing it or making the knowledge publicly available. If an ingredient can be bundled under the umbrella term “fragrance”, companies can get away with adding dozens of ingredients that consumers won’t know about. These mysterious “fragrance” ingredients – sometimes called phthalates when they’re used to boost perfuming agents - can cause people with sensitive skin to have breakouts, or worse, can very well include known carcinogens. In the E.U., regulations help keep irritants and allergens out of the “fragrance,” but stateside…. no such luck. Thankfully, many brands are catching on and creating lines of totally fragrance-free products.

#1: Avobenzone

We all know how important sunscreen is for keeping your skin healthy, but many ingredients commonly found in popular sunblock formulas can actually be quite dangerous. The FDA is notoriously slow at approving SPF ingredients, which is why many Japanese and Korean sunscreens are so popular stateside. The biggest offenders in the US are Oxybenzone and Avobenzone, both of which absorb UV rays effectively but can release free radicals. Your best bet for avoiding potentially dangerous chemical sunscreen ingredients is by switching to a physical or mineral sunscreen.

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