One concern is that we lack sufficient research on the effects of chronic exposure, such as for someone who puts on a full face of makeup every morning. Another concern is that we don’t know how many of these harmful ingredients might make their way into our bodies. Many people are under the mistaken impression that skin is an impenetrable barrier against chemicals. However, according to an FDA report on the effects of chemical sunscreens, many chemicals can and do absorb into the bloodstream through the skin.
Now you might be thinking, “Okay, but if that’s true, wouldn’t the FDA ban cosmetics that contain chemicals linked to health problems?” You’d be right that the FDA does take steps to protect consumers from harmful chemicals, including banning ingredients like mercury and methylene chloride. But while the U.S. has banned only 10 ingredients, the European Union has banned more than 1,300—showing that we still have work to do.