Do You Love Your Mineral Makeup?

All of the new mineral makeups and cosmetic lines advertise great things like blocking bad sun rays that lead to aging skin. Are there other reasons I should switch to mineral makeup? Do you love the look?

Doctor Answers 1

Mineral Makeup Has Advantages but Choose Carefully

Mineral makeup has been around since the days of Cleopatterer (misspelling intended, Jerome Kern song from Leave It To Jane). Think of kohl, malachite and ochre for lipstick.

One advantage of mineral makeup is that it consists mostly of ground powder and lacks the preservatives of cream and liquid makeup. This makes it less likely to cause irritation and an allergic reaction.

However, I have heard and read claims about their health benefits that are way out of proportion to what one finds in the literature. You cannot have it both ways. One of the advantages of mineral makeup is that it sits on the skin and does not penetrate where it can do damage. However, if it sits on the skin and does not enter the dermis why are we subjected to so many claims about its antioxidant activity and skin benefits

Another problem is that they are not all made the same. Sometimes what is passed off as natural is not so. Companies can add preservatives, artificial colors, and fillers and as long as there are minerals in it, they are allowed by the FDA to call it a mineral makeup.

One mineral that should be avoided in your mineral makeup is bismuth oxychloride. This is a particularly sensitizing agent. If you see it in a mineral makeup you are about to purchase, avoid it.

Talc is a bit controversial. In the 1990's it was looked at negatively and as a possible culprit as a cause of ovarian cancer. Lately the literature seems to have exonerated it somewhat, as scientists have regarded some of those 1990 studies as faulty. Still I would avoid talc in baby powder ( it's irritating and in girl babies there is still the question of carcinogenicty) and if you are female ( and I doubt too many males are reading this answer at this juncture) would not use it in the groin region.

I would not count on mineral makeup as being a good sunscreen. Although many of them contain titanium and zinc, the powdery form of these substances can blow off the skin, thereby losing sun protection.

Jane Iredale makes a very good product or so says our aesthetician who has been harassing me to carry it. I understand Colorescience, the originator of mineral makeup, and Bare Ecsentuals are also excellent choices.

If you would like to learn more about mineral makeup you are welcome to listen to our radio show on where we discussed this on March 12 and April 16th editions.

Hope this has helped.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist
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