Web Exclusive: What's really in your makeup

Web Exclusive

(CNN) -  The use of cosmetics are a part of the daily regimen for women across the country, but have your ever stopped to consider if the products in your makeup bag may be toxic to your health?

"There's lead acetate in hair dyes, lead in lipstick, formaldehyde and 1, 4, dioxane in baby shampoos and other shampoos," says Lisa Archer with Friends of the Earth.

All of these ingredients are potentially toxic.  So why are they allowed in these products?  The problem in part lies with the law.  Cosmetic firms are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products. But with the exception of color additives, federal food and drug regulations do not require ingredients in beauty aids to be approved before going on the market.  Work by grass roots organizations to change that is starting to pay off.  Faced with mounting pressure, Johnson and Johnson announced its plan to phase out the ingredients.

In a statement to CNN, the company said nothing is more important to them than the piece of mind of people using their products, but the company also said the ingredients, at their present levels, are safe.

Lisa Archer, former director of the campaign for safe cosmetics, disagrees.  "It's really important for consumers to know that small doses can add up to harm, and the timing of the dose of the toxic chemicals really matters as well," says Archer.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has a number of resources on its website to inform consumers on what it calls "Chemicals of Concern."  For Nakia Evans, who has suffered with breakouts and skin irritations for years, it was an epiphany.

"I just couldn't wear the type of makeup that everybody else was wearing," says Nakia Evans.

Nakia began to take a closer look at what exactly she was putting on her skin, and switched to products that do not contain ingredients considered potentially toxic.

"We want to look great on the outside, but we also have to educate ourself when we're applying makeup what we're doing not only to our skin, but internally," says Nakia.

Nakia, has discovered natural and organic skin care productS.

"We are paraben free, we are talc free and we are free of those things because we feel like you should not have to sacrifice your health for beauty," says Kim Roxie, LAMIK Beauty.

For Nakia, it means a new way of thinking and no more breakouts. "It actually helped my skin. So I would recommend that you research what you're putting on your skin," says Nakia.


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