In recent years, kitchen ingredients have made their way into beauty products. Take coconut oil, for example. Or, skin-friendly Vitamin C, in the form of citrus extracts and oils. But there’s one kitchen ingredient that’s hiding in many beauty products and it’s a bit alarming.
You may or may not read the ingredients on your makeup products, but even if you do, you probably never saw “Teflon” listed. That’s because it’s a generic name for the chemical, polytetrafluoroethylene. And yes, that’s a mouthful, so it goes by PTFE for short.
A recent report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) examined its product database that contains 74,000 products. 66 products contained Teflon, and 15 brands, including CoverGirl and L’Oreal, were responsible.
Why do beauty brands use Teflon in their products? Teflon has the ability to repel both watrer and oil, making it a useful ingredient in things like waterproof mascaras, eyeliners, and anti-frizz hair styling products.
But if Teflon is good for beauty products, why is it bad for you?
The EWG study explains that Teflon and the chemical group it belongs to “have been linked to serious health effects including cancer, thyroid disease and reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccines.”
Fortunately, Teflon isn’t a popular ingredient in beauty products, and the study explains that “Absorption of these chemicals through skin is not expected to be a significant route of exposure.”
Nonetheless, depending on the product and its formula along with how it’s applied and the individual’s skin type, Teflon may be an ingredient you want to avoid.