Doctor warns of dangerous chemicals found in popular cosmetics

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ladies, could your makeup be toxic? One Kansas City doctor has a warning for you. She says our cosmetics have more than a thousand ingredients banned in other countries.

Naturopathic doctor Dr. Jody Krukowski with The University of Kansas Hospital says if you’ve looked inside your makeup bag lately, what's lurking inside is anything but pretty.

"It's not pretty! Definitely not pretty," Dr. Krukowski said.

Dr. Krukowski says hundreds of products on store shelves, from your blush and mascara to shampoo and toothpaste, have harmful chemicals that can lead to serious health problems.

"A lot of times you can just look at some of the products that people are using and find that as a link to disease,” she said.

RE/MAX realtor Sharon Aubuchon says for her that looking good is part of the job description.

"My mom always taught me your first impression, you have one chance to make a first impression and I don't go anywhere without my makeup on and done," she explained.

Dr. Krukowski says Aubuchon is like millions of women who have no idea what's really in their favorite products.

"General rule, if you cannot pronounce the name of the ingredient, most likely it's probably not something that's healthy for your skin,” Dr. Krukowski said.

Dr. Kurkowski warns of the top five most dangerous ingredients:

Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate
Toluene
Parabens
Phthalates
Triclosan

Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate is a skin, lung and eye irritant.

"Those are going to be in all of your shampoos, your body washes, anything that's going to foam,” Dr. Krukowski said.

"Toluene. That's going to be derived from petroleum and your coal tar sources,” Dr. Krukowski said. "Those are able to actually dissolve paints and they act like paint thinners."

Next, parabens and phthalates, ingredients commonly found in eye shadows, blushes mascara and nail polish.

"Those are going to be endocrine disruptors," the doctor said.

Lastly, triclosan, a chemical found in anti-bacterial soaps that can cause thyroid and reproductive system issues. Aubuchon was shocked to learn one of her favorites made the list.

"It's so pretty! It's so pretty and it smells so good,” she said.

The body wash she loves is made with sodium laureth sulfate.

"That's scary, and that's in this? Oh my gosh,” she said.

We went shopping and found dozens of products with the dangerous ingredients on store shelves. Dr. Krukowski says she wants America to follow Europe's lead and ban hundreds of harmful ingredients currently found in American beauty products.

"I feel like maybe it should be regulated because, you know, we regulate all of our supplements, we regulate all of our food, but in the makeup category and cosmetics that isn't happening," she said.

Aubuchon says she'll think twice the next time she goes shopping.

"No, I probably won't buy it anymore but it's too bad because I like it,” she lamented.

Because true beauty is literally skin deep.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics the European Union currently bans 1,328 chemicals from its cosmetics. In contrast, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned or restricted only 11.

The doctor also recommends avoiding any beauty product with color or fragrance.

So how can you be sure your products are safe? Check out Skin Deep.

It's managed by the environmental working group. There you can search a database of toxic ingredients in your cosmetic and personal care products.

Simply put in the name of the product you use and it gives you a list of every ingredient. It also includes a rating scale for just how dangerous the organization thinks each particular ingredient is to your health.