Allergy to Mineral Makeup

Tanya Sharma
Occasionally people are allergic to mineral makeup.

Though it's touted as one of the most natural types of cosmetics available, it is still possible to develop an allergy to mineral makeup.

About Mineral Makeup

In recent years, mineral makeup has become the talk of the beauty industry. It's been featured on home shopping networks, advertised on late-night infomercials and promoted as the best product for sensitive skin.

What has made the mineral business suddenly so trendy? Organic ingredients, particularly in cosmetics, body and hair care products, are intriguing and considered healthy. They offer a mysterious allure with the vague promise of "all-natural" goodness. But is it really all natural?

It is interesting to note that any cosmetics company can claim that its products are mineral-based. This is because the cosmetics industry is self-regulated. It is not dependent upon an outside party to test and prove, or disprove, its theories. A product can contain just a trace amount of mineral ingredients and still be called a "mineral cosmetic."

True mineral makeup typically includes ingredients such as these:

  • Inorganic dyes
  • Iron oxide
  • Mica
  • Natural sunblock
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide

Dermatologists often suggest mineral-based makeup products to patients with sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, rosacea and oily skin. This is because:

  1. The inorganic dyes contained in the products are far less likely to cause an allergic reaction than dyes found in basic products.
  2. Mineral products are fine, granulated powder formulations, as opposed to typical liquids. Thus, they don't absorb into the skin as much.
  3. They provide sun protection.

Consumers like mineral makeup for a variety of reasons. Some simply feel that they are using the most natural products available. Others turn to minerals for these reasons:

  1. It is light-reflecting, therefore it provides outstanding coverage of fine lines and wrinkles.
  2. It is lightweight and does not "cake" on the skin.
  3. It is typically offered in an extensive selection of colors. This makes it extremely versatile and suitable for anyone's skin tone.

What Causes an Allergy to Mineral Makeup

While there are plenty of companies that offer reputable, trustworthy mineral products, it is still entirely possible to develop an allergy to mineral makeup. When shopping for mineral makeup, it is especially important to read the product's ingredient list. If there is no list available, consult a salesperson or visit the company's web site for more details. Keep the following points in mind:

  • Small Ingredient Lists

You may have heard people say not to eat anything with ingredients you can't pronounce. The same applies with mineral makeup. The fewer the ingredients, the better the product will be for your skin - that's the general rule of thumb when it comes to selecting mineral makeup. Preservatives, fillers, dyes, synthetics and chemicals better suited in a science lab should not be on the ingredient list for your mineral makeup.

What exactly constitutes a small ingredient list? Look for lists that contain as few as three but up to seven or eight at most. Of course, this isn't a hard and fast rule, but typically those extra ingredients are unnecessary components that may very well prove harmful to your skin.

  • Sunscreen

Zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide are ingredients that offer protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. The instant sunscreen protection mineral makeup provides is a huge bonus, especially for those who don't regularly apply it independently. Additionally, zinc oxide is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it is an agent that may soothe any existing inflammation. Allergies to sunscreen ingredients are uncommon.

  • Bismuth Oxychloride

An allergy to mineral makeup can almost always be pinpointed to one particular ingredient known as bismuth oxychloride. A byproduct of lead, copper and other metals, bismuth oxychloride is not commonly found in nature. Cosmetic companies use it in their mineral makeup products to impart a shine to the skin. It is also very refractive, which makes it optimal for covering fine lines and wrinkles.

However, bismuth oxychloride is very heavy. It inevitably enters the pores when it is buffed into the skin, resulting in not only clogged pores, but irritated skin. It is crystalline in its molecular makeup, which can cause the skin to itch when it is applied. If you experience discomfort, it is quite possible you have developed an allergy to mineral makeup due to this ingredient.

  • Carmine

Though it has been FDA-approved and is considered safe to use in color cosmetics, carmine is best avoided if you have sensitive skin. Carmine is a dark red pigment made of the crushed shells of cochineal beetles. They are dried, ground and added to the cosmetic base. It has been known to cause severe allergic reactions in many people.

Where to Purchase

Mineral makeup can help you achieve radiant, glowing skin. If you worry about developing an allergy to mineral makeup, remember to research ingredient lists prior to purchasing the product. The following brands carry extensive mineral makeup collections that do not contain known allergens:

Allergy to Mineral Makeup