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Artificial Colours in Skin Care – Why they Don’t Belong

It’s almost impossible to go a day without exposure to Artificial Colours. Many popular lollies, drinks, yoghurts, gums, baking mixes, sauces and chips contain Artificial Colours. Artificial Colours are not limited to our food, chances are, if you: take vitamins, use cough syrup, brush your teeth, wash your hands, shampoo your hair, wash your clothes and moisturise your lips on a daily basis -- you come into contact with Artificial Colours frequently.

What are Artificial Colours?

Artificial Colours or dyes are synthetic additives combined to make a single colour. Up to 25 synthetic additives are needed to create one artificial dye. A colour like purple can have up to 50 synthetic chemicals mixed together.

Why are Artificial Colours used?

Historically Artificial Colours have been added to products to make them more appealing.  Brightly coloured food with these dye additives is a marketing tactic the food industry has been capitalising on for decades. Colour makes things look beautiful and companies know this, they also have an effect on how we feel and perceive the things around us. Look at products in your current beauty regime and you will see a kaleidoscope of colours in your skin care. shampoos, soaps, lotions, and cosmetics.  Unfortunately, most skincare manufacturers rely on artificial dyes to fill their products with colour.

How are Artificial Colours made?

Many Artificial Colours are made by using coal tar, petroleum or heavy metals salts like arsenic and lead. When absorbed on our skin, Artificial Colours can increase the risk of irritation, blocked pores, breakouts and sensitivity. But some Artificial Colours are more harmful than others.

FD&C Red No. 3 (Erythrosine) (E127) - causes thyroid tumours

What are the Impacts of Artificial Colours?

The toxins that Artificial Colours leave on your skin greatly increase your risk of sensitivity and irritation and allow these chemicals to be absorbed into your body where they can cause even greater damage. They can also block your pores, which leads to a greater risk of acne.

Studies show that dyes made from coal tar are carcinogenic.  A study on Artificial Colours in foods tested Blue 1 with animals not only found a link to cancer, but also affected the neurons which cause allergic reactions. In 1983, a report requested by the FDA, found Red 3 to have caused thyroid tumours. As a result, Red 3 was banned from cosmetics. Yellow 5 when combined with a benzoate with E numbers (E210-E215) is linked with allergy-like hypersensitivity as well ADHD syndrome (hyperactive) in children, while Yellow 6 could cause adrenal gland and kidney tumours.

Why use dangerous Artificial Colours when you don’t have to?

How Can You Avoid Artificial Colours?

Be aware of what skin care products contain Artificial Colours by paying close attention to labels. Manufacturers are required to list the dyes they use on their product packaging. While they won’t list out the individual chemicals they used to create the dye, they will list the dye as a whole. Look for things like “colourant”, or specifically FD&C Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue FCF) (E133),  FD&C Blue No. 2 (Indigo tine) (E131), FD&C Green No. 3 (Fast Green FCF), FD&C Red No. 3 (Erythrosine) (E127), FD&C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine) (E102), FD&C Yellow No. 6 (Sunset Yellow) (E110), FD&C Copper complexes of chlorophyll (Green) (E141) and FD&C Green S(Green) (E142).

Safer Red - Beetroot Powder

What are the Alternatives to Artificial Colours?

There are plenty of natural alternatives to create beautiful colours in skincare products without relying on synthetic substances. Foods like coffee and molasses, seaweed powder, clays and spices or for primary colours, ingredients like turmeric powder (yellow), beet root powder (red), and woad powder (blue) can create beautiful shades without putting your health at risk.

Synthetic colourants may make a product look better, but they don’t make them better for you. Artificial Dyes, at best may irritate your skin and cause your children to be hyperactive, at worst they can risk your health irretrievably.  

At Kadee Botanicals we don’t believe in risking your health.  Artificial or synthetic colours have no place in our skincare. View our full product range that are free of: Sulphates (SLS & SLES), Parabens, Mineral oils (petroleum based), Artificial Colours, Artificial fragrances and Not tested on Animals.