Look around and you will find that there are artificial colours being used all around you. The dye used in your clothes and beddings, food and beverages and even toothpaste — artificial colouring is everywhere. Especially when it comes to personal care and beauty, artificial dyes can be found in moisturisers, cleansers, shampoos and even lip balms. But just because they are so common, does it also mean they are safe? Absolutely not!
Artificial dyes are unhealthy for you and here's why they do not belong in your skincare routine.
- How are artificial dyes made and why are they used
- How artificial dyes affect your beauty routine
- How to avoid artificial dyes in your skincare routine
How are artificial dyes made and why are they used
Unlike skincare products formulated with naturally colourful ingredients, most products rely on artificial dyes to add vibrant colours in them. These dyes are often made of coal tar, petroleum or heavy metals like arsenic and lead; and sometimes even a combination of them. For instance, it can require up to 50 synthetic chemicals mixed together to create colour like purple.
So why are harmful artificial dyes used in skincare when they don't serve an actual purpose? Based on popular demand, these colourings are added to products to make them more attractive. Research has shown that customers believe colourful products are more appealing and enhance the experience of using them. Which is why shampoos, soaps, lotions, and other beauty essentials are saturated with beautiful colours to increase their saleability.
How artificial dyes affect your beauty routine
Given that artificial dyes can be present in most of your skincare staples, how bad actually are they? Here are some of the harmful effects of these chemicals:
- When absorbed into your skin, artificial colours can lead to irritation, blocked pores, inflammation and sensitise the skin.
- Artificial dyes have been primarily associated with acne troubles; they disturb the natural oil balance in your skin’s microbiome and lead to increased blemishes.
- The toxins present in these chemicals can also be absorbed into your body, causing further damage from within.
- Research has also shown that some dyes, especially the ones made from coal tar, are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in nature.
- Artificial dyes can also affect the neurons and cause allergic reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin.
How to avoid artificial dyes in your skincare routine
The best way to avoid purchasing products with artificial dyes is to do a label check before buying products. While brands won't mention the name of the chemicals used, they will have terms like 'colourant' or industrial names like Tartrazine mentioned in the list. Also, do your own research before buying a new product.
Opt for products that use natural colours in their products. Ingredients like coffee, molasses, seaweed powder, clays and spices, beetroot powder and others are used to give products vibrant colours without putting the health of your skin at risk.