The Danger of Synthetic Dyes in Skincare Products

The Danger of Synthetic Dyes in Skincare Products


Skin sensitivity, irritation, sprinkled with a few acne breakouts. If reading that has you thinking that this blog post is about your worst nightmare, let us clear up what we’ll be tackling today, real quick. Synthetic dyes can be found virtually everywhere in the beauty world. From your go-to lipstick to that beaming highlighter you constantly reach for – these nasties are often front and center on their ingredient lists. Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t end there. Skincare companies also use these dyes in their products for a myriad of reasons we’re about to uncover. Strap in, babe. You totally deserve to know all about the Danger of Synthetic Dyes in Skincare Products, ASAP!

What are synthetic dyes and why do beauty brands use them?

First thing’s first. Before we get into the nitty gritty of everything synthetic dye related, let’s outline exactly what these nasties are and what their purpose is in beauty & skincare products. 

Synthetic or artificial colors and dyes are exactly what you think they are. They are chemical additives that are used to add a cute shade to products like soap, shower gels, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, self tanner… and the list goes on, babe. What you’ll learn a little later in this blog post though, is that the effects of them are not so cute. Nope, not so cute at all. 

The wild part about these dyes is that they have a lot to hide. In fact, what most babes don’t know is that these artificial colors are often composed of several chemicals. Consequently, this makes it *extremely* difficult for you to know what you’re using on your skin despite what an ingredient list may say. Not fair, we know. But unfortunately honey, it’s the cold hard truth.


What are these ingredients really hiding in my skincare & beauty products? 

So what exactly are these nasties hiding? Well, we’re glad you asked. Several synthetic dyes contain heavy metal salts like lead, arsenic, and chromium – to only name a few. Moreover, these artificial colors and dyes can even made from petroleum and/or coal tar. Ummm, yeah. As tempting as that sounds, we think we’ll pass on that.

As you can imagine, this is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your precious skin. It has even been reported that these metals can cause allergic contact dermatitis amongst other serious skincare blunders. In a nutshell, it’s safe to say that you’ll want to avoid these gross additives the way you avoid folding the laundry on a daily basis, babe. And if you don’t avoid folding your laundry – congrats, we admire you.


So why are these ingredients not so cute for my health?

In case applying coal tar to your skin wasn’t a deterrent enough, we have a more extensive list of reasons why you’ll want to ditch synthetic dyes, pronto.

The real danger of synthetic dyes in skincare products is that they contain toxins that can significantly increase your chances of having irritated and sensitive skin. What’s more, these ingredients have been shown to clog pores and disrupt skin’s natural oil balance which leads to dreaded acne issues. Depending on which dye is being used in a product, some have even been associated to thyroid tumors and allergic reactions. As we mentioned above, because there is such a vast variety of chemicals in these artificial dyes, it is next to impossible for you as a consumer to pinpoint which is which. Meaning, you will rarely know what danger you’re risking every time you expose yourself to synthetic dyes in your skincare & beauty products.

The additional downside of all this is that currently, there are very few restrictions on what kind of dyes companies are allowed to use in their products. Meaning that avoiding these nasties rests on you, being the knowledgeable natural beauty goddess that you are. Luckily though, you have us and several other clean beauty resources out there that can help with this daunting task. The EWG provides helpful lists and articles surrounding safe cosmetics, and our BBE Blog Central isn’t too shabby of an ally either. So brush up on your ingredient terms and be picky with your products. After all, your skin deserves nothing less, sis.  



What can I do to avoid these nasties as much as possible?

Alright, we’re over all of the bad news, babe. I mean, we really hit you with a lot of not so nice (but critical!) information in this blog post. Now that you know all about the danger of synthetic dyes in skincare products, we can move on to better things. You know, besides freaking you out and making you run to your bathroom vanity to toss out everything you own. So stick with us, because things are about to look up. Here’s the good news, beautiful.

Avoiding synthetic colors and dyes in your products is a lot easier than you think. And while synthetic dyes can be found in items beyond your beauty cabinet, we’re going to focus in here. For the sake of this blog post, we’ll concentrate on how you can say adios to these ingredients in your skincare products, in a cinch. Here are our tips for making the shift towards a synthetic dye-free life. Oh and, for looking and feeling even better after your regular skincare & beauty routine.

Did you know that synthetic dyes can most often be found in self tanner?

Babe, we wish we were wrong about this one. But if you're someone who lives for a gorgeous self tan, you'll want to be aware of this next tidbit of information. Self tanners are *huge* culprits when it comes to using synthetic dyes and toxic ingredients more broadly. In fact, you can thank these nasties for why your skin turns orange or green after using them. 

If right about now you're feeling sad, disappointed, and like your glow game will never be the same - let us reassure you that there are far better options out there for getting a healthy tan sans synthetics. We mean, like, a whole lot of options. 

BBE's lineup of self tanners are made with all of the good stuff. We're talking moisturizing coconut oil, calming witch hazel, and shea butter. And to get you that unreal glow you so deserve? Well, we use sugar beet derived DHA. A.k.a. no synthetic dyes are ever involved in our ingredient lists. Meaning, you get as dark as you want without ever looking like an oompa loompa or compromising your skin's health. We've got you, sis. 


The 3 simple tips you need to make the switch from synthetic nastiness to natural fabulousness.

  • Start with the basics. We’re talking about the products that you reach for every single day. Face wash, toner, moisturizer, shower gel, deodorant – you get the picture! By replacing these daily staples with safe alternatives, you will already be making a huge impact on the number of artificial dyes you’re exposing yourself to. Every little bit counts and before you know it, you’ll be going through products that extend way beyond your bathroom vanity (think laundry detergent, food, and even toothpaste!)
  • Be conscious of the brands you choose. If you want to make an effort to use more natural products, look no further than the companies you’re regularly supporting. If you’re the type of babe who loves to pick apart an ingredient list, we commend you! But if you don’t exactly have the time or patience to do so, picking a natural skincare brand you know is reliable (you know, like BBE!) will allow you to avoid all of this due diligence. Just be weary of brands who use “greenwashing” as a tactic to make their products appear better than they really are.
  • Learn to recognize what synthetic dye ingredients look like. We truly wish that companies would be upfront and flat out write “fake, artificial, nasty, not good for you dye” on the back of their bottles. But we all know that wouldn’t go over so well in their sales departments. Instead, brands will often list things like letters and numbers that in reality are synthetic colors. If you see something like “Yellow 3” or “FD&C Black” on a label, this is usually code for (you guessed it) artificial colors and dyes. And remember, “Yellow 3” can include a slew of chemicals that you’ll never know about. With a little practice, knowing how to spot these bad guys will save you time and energy. Not to mention, it will also save your precious skin!


Look at you, killing it with all these healthy beauty decisions…

Paying attention to all of the questionable ingredients that can end up in your skincare & beauty products is no easy feat. Trust us babe, we’ve done the legwork. From parabens to aluminum to synthetic dyes, the list of “avoid at all costs” ingredients seems to continuously be growing.  And in a world where you already have enough to worry about (hello, remember that mountain of laundry we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post) you deserve to have besties in beauty that will do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Choosing brands like BBE who prioritize your health and the environment are a no-brainer when it comes to stepping up your clean beauty game. Whether you’re ready to completely ditch synthetic dyes by revamping your skincare routine or you just need the right articles to inspire you – we’ve got it all right here for you, sis.

Until our next dish session on whatever it is you can x out of your life for the better (sorry babe, laundry isn’t one of them),

Carey <3

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