Tag Archive: Rosacea

Top 5 Harmful Chemicals in Your Makeup and Other Beauty Products

October 15, 2019

Skin irritation? Breakouts? Allergies? Think it may be due to bad diet and unhealthy lifestyle? Or maybe because of your dirty beddings or perhaps pollution? All of that may be possible contributors to your unlikely skin concerns but have you ever wondered that maybe the problem could be in the makeup that you use?



Makeup is all fun and games until you learn about the risk it comes with using them. If using makeup products is part of your daily routine, then it is important to know about what you put on your skin! Did you know that the average woman ingests about 6 tons of lipstick in her lifetime? You may not notice because you don’t literally eat your lipstick, but every time lipstick gets unto your teeth, or whenever it transfers on to your food when you eat, the main thing is it’s now down your tummy! So before anything else, it’s now time to question on whether or not the products that you use are safe for you.

You may be reading the ingredient list of your makeup products but do you think that’s all it is? Some companies hide “certain substances” or mask it under deceptive titles. Others may have listed them, but what’s lacking is that there is not enough information on the potential harm it may cause for their consumers.

 Certain ingredients used in the production of makeup and cosmetics can cause more harm than benefits and these can cause problems that may put your health at serious risk. Issues related to the use of products with these harmful ingredients may associate with skin allergies, cancer, weakened immunity, and more.

“For patients who suffer from sensitive skin and allergies, it’s often a vicious cycle with makeup products which are used for concealing the skin imperfections, and the same preservatives and ingredients in these products cause an exacerbation of the underlying skin condition,” says accredited dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin.

How about for those without skin problems? Dr. Teo says, “Makeup is in direct contact with skin, and as skincare can deliver benefits to skin via topical absorption, makeup can also be used as a means to improve the health of the skin when it is incorporated with cosmeceutical active ingredients as an anti-ageing formula— while at the same time offering concealing of imperfections, which can improve individuals’ self-esteem. For products applied to mucosal areas such as the eyes and lips, it’s worthwhile to switch to pure mineral colorants in cosmeceutical bases because these are sensitive areas that are prone to irritation, and have thinner skin that will cause any harmful substances to be directly absorbed.”

 We have listed down below the Top 5 harmful chemicals that are used in the production, preservation, and manufacturing of makeup products that you may be using everyday. Guess what, these ingredients don’t have to be present in your makeup— if you switch to mineral makeup for the eyes and lips!


 1. Phthalates

 This chemical is most commonly found in perfumes, colour cosmetics, nail polish, and hair care products. Phthalates are linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer. Phthalates may be labeled as phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and “fragrance”. Some companies intentionally exclude this on their ingredients list. Products that list “fragrance” on the label should be avoided to prevent possible exposure to phthalates.




2. Paraben

Paraben…paraben… One of the most famous ingredients for makeup. Though you may not know much about this chemical, you’ve probably heard about this already because you may have previously encountered the term “paraben-free” on some beauty products and wonder what does it mean. Parabens are preservatives used in a wide variety of personal care products and foods to prevent the growth of microbes. Parabens are not water soluble and can penetrate the skin. As a result, repeated application of a product or multiple products containing parabens could mean almost continuous exposure. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be absorbed through skin, blood and the digestive system.

Effect of Paraben: causes endocrine dysfunction, interferes with male reproductive functions, and can lead to rapid skin ageing and DNA damage.

 Paraben may be labeled as ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and other ingredients ending in –paraben.




3. Lead

Lead has continuously been a very controversial component of lipstick. But did you know that it is often used in makeup foundation and whitening toothpaste as well? High levels of lead may pose a very serious risk on our health and studies have shown that there is no safe amount of lead exposure as though even at small amounts, lead can be very dangerous. Medical experts are clear that any level of lead exposure is unhealthy. The FDA or Food and Drug Administration has been determined to limit the usage of lead in lipstick and in a variety of other cosmetics. Read here.

 Exposure to lead has been linked to a host of health concerns:

  • Neurotoxicity: It has been linked to learning, language and behavioral problems.
  • Reduced fertility in both men and women
  • Hormonal changes and menstrual irregularities
  • Delayed onset of puberty in girls and development of testes in boys.




4. Asbestos

 Talc is used as an ingredient in face powders, blush, and eyeshadows. The incorporation of asbestos in talc is due to poor regulations involving cosmetic-grade talc, which is also known as talcum powder. Talc and asbestos are minerals that form together. That means talc mined for commercial uses can be contaminated with asbestos — a known cause of lung cancer and mesothelioma. Before purchasing any product that has talc, make sure it is labeled as asbestos-free. Health concerns of asbestos may include skin irritation, cancer, organ system toxicity.





5. Butylated Compounds (BHA, BHT)

 Mainly used for preservation of our beauty products and personal care products such as moisturizer, lip products, hair products, makeup, sunscreen, antiperspirant/deodorant, fragrance, creams. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are chemicals are linked to several health concerns including endocrine disruption and organ-system toxicity.

Don’t get fooled by this because butylated compounds are also used as preservatives in food like meats, sausage, poultry, baked goods, beer, etc.




We have no control over the ingredients or manufacturing of the mass market makeup available in the market, but is that where custom blend mineral makeup can perhaps fill a need? “Custom blend mineral makeup has its advantages especially for eye and lip makeup because pure minerals are utilised. The eyelid and lip area are high-risk locations and naturally have thinner and more sensitive type of skin—known as mucosal skin. “ says Dr. Teo, who remarks that she has been seeing an increasing number of patients in her practice with eyelid and lip eczema, often triggered by makeup products such as mascara, eyelash extensions and lipsticks.

Especially if the sources are clearly labelled and audited, the risk of manufacturing contamination for sensitive products such as lipsticks and eye shadows, which is of the highest concerns to regulatory authorities like the FDA and HSA as well, due to the risk of ingestion and absorption, is eliminated. “When produced in smaller batches, custom blended mineral makeup is preservative free and avoids the problems of lead contamination in mass market manufacturing, which is important in lip products because of the lead content which is inevitably ingested.” Dr. Teo says.

How does one avoid getting these toxic chemicals incorporated into your daily routine? Also, isn’t it time that skincare is infused into makeup, since both are applied for long hours on the skin? Head over here to get your hands on cosmeceutical make-up.

Dr. TWL Dream Concealer™



100% Mineral Pigments Without Bulking Agents

Bismuth Oxychloride(BMO)/Talc-free

FDA Eye/Lip Approved

[Cosmeceutical Base]

Oligopeptides [Lifting][Repair]

Niacinamide [Brightening]

LARECEA™ Extract [Regeneration]

PEACH Covers dark circles on light skin 

ORANGE Cancels dark circles brown spots on medium to deep skin 

PALE PURPLE Conceal brown spots on light skin dullness 

PURPLE Brightens/Neutralizes dull yellow on medium skin 

PINK Brightens/Neutralizes dull yellow on light skin 

BLUE Neutralizes sallowness & hyperpigmentation on fair skin 

YELLOW Cancels purple/blue tones Corrects mild redness 

GREEN Neutralizes redness/pimples 

Rosacea – Treatments for 4 Types of Facial Redness recommended by a Skin Expert

June 11, 2018

If you experience persistent redness on your face, you may be suffering from rosacea. It is a common inflammatory skin condition that impacts a large portion of the fair-skinned population. The skin condition is more prevalent in women between 30 and 50 years of age, but there can be manifestations of the condition across all age groups and in men.

Although it may be more common in people with fair skin, blue eyes and Celtic ascendance, rosacea is not uncommon in Asian populations. The itchy, stinging skin condition is often mistaken for eczema, leading to non-precise treatments that may exacerbate the condition.

Constant facial redness is the most common sign of rosacea and resembles a frequent flush or sunburn that does not go away. Such redness may be accompanied by a tingling heat or warmth that comes and goes.

Types of Rosacea

Rosacea can be classified into 4 clinical subtypes: erthematotelangiectatic, papulopustular, phymatous and ocular. Most subtypes have characteristics of flushing and telangiectasia, where small blood vessels are prominent and visible. Patients are often diagnosed with more than one rosacea subtype and experience increased sensitivity of the facial skin such as burning, stinging or itchy sensations.

Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is characterised by redness and flushing in the centre of the face, with telangiectasia present in most patients. The skin may be very sensitive and swollen.Telangiectasias are visible small, broken or widened blood vessels. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is the most common subtype and has a tendency to flush or blush more easily than other people.

Papulopustular rosacea is marked by bumps and pimples that result from chronic inflammation. Redness is also visible in this subtype, while telangiectasias may not be as evident here. This subtype may have acne-like breakouts and oily skin, but it must be differentiated from acne as the treatment required differs.

Phymatous rosacea is uncommon in women and develops over years. Marked by thickened skin and irregular skin surface, it has a bumpy texture. This subtype is rare, as the patient often has symptoms of another rosacea subtype first. The skin may thicken on the nose, chin, forehead, cheeks and ears, and pores appear large.

Patients with ocular rosacea may feel a burning sting around the eyes and experience crusty discharge on the lashes or eyelids. For this subtype, rosacea is affecting mostly the eye. The eyes may be more sensitive to light. Eyelids can be swollen and styes can be frequent. Patients having this condition may also have a watery or bloodshot appearance and may not have their vision as well as before.

Causes of Rosacea

According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, she said:  “There is an underlying genetic predisposition for patients with rosacea, individuals with a family history of rosacea are more likely to develop the condition. While studies on the cause of rosacea remain unclear, it is proposed that underlying features are inflammation and vascular reactivity, leading to erythema (redness) and presence of papules and pustules.”

Certain triggers can stimulate an immune response, such as alcohol consumption, spices, hormones, stress, UV radiation, microbes, extreme weathers, humidity and certain cosmetics.

In the pathogenesis of rosacea, it is proposed that a microbial organism called Demodex Folliculoru incites a flare by triggering an immune response in patients. In simpler terms, patients with the condition do not react well to certain triggers as they incite an exaggerated immune response. The immune system then releases an overproduction of factors, leading to inflammation and vascular dilation.

Treating Rosacea

Treatment begins with a proper diagnosis, including identifying the subtype. Most therapies focus on suppressing the symptoms and targeting inflammation.

Lifestyle interventions include using high-factor sunscreens, patient education, dietary changes and avoiding irritants and triggers. Photoprotection has always been an important step, but for patients with rosacea, it becomes even more crucial as photoprotection may prevent a flare triggered by sun exposure.

A gentle skin care regimen is recommended to maintain skin hydration and barrier function. These 2 factors are fundamental in improving the symptoms experienced by patients. In our dermatologist’s office, a Hyaluronic Acid serum and a ceramide-based Multi-CERAM moisturiser are often recommended to respectively hydrate and repair skin barrier function. Clinical practice has shown marked improvements in cases with a strong focus on hydration and repair of the skin barrier. This helps to suppress the exaggerated inflammatory response in patients, which contributes to the facial redness observed.

Topical treatment options to inhibit the inflammatory pathways that are involved in rosacea include azelaic acid, erythromycin and metronidazole. Depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s skin sensitivity, the medium of the topicals may be lotion, cream, gel or foam.

Short-term oral antibacterials such as tetracyclines and macrolides may also be prescribed when topical therapies fail to control the disease. For persistent cases of facial redness, oral isotretinoin may also be required. Laser, light-based therapies and surgical interventions are also treatment options for certain patients.

In addition, as the psychosocial impact of the condition can greatly influence individuals, cover-up or colour-correcting powders can be recommended to mitigate the effect.


Rosacea or SunBurnt Dermatologist Singapore

Rosacea is a medical condition that is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, even though the condition potentially has a great psychosocial impact on the affected individual. As the common initial symptoms are often mistaken for something else, such as sunburn, the condition may go undiagnosed for most patients.

A proper diagnosis along with precise treatments can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life. If symptoms of persistent facial redness appear, it is recommended to consult an accredited dermatologist for advice and proper management, to keep the condition at bay.

© 2018 TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre. All rights reserved.


Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for a thorough consultation to determine the most suitable treatment for your skin.

To book an appointment with Dr. Teo, call us at +65 6355 0522, or email appt@twlskin.com. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.