Beauty Becomes A Beast

Beauty becomes the beast 1The magical influence of makeup presents itself in two obvious forms: psychologically, makeup allows one feel attractive, beautiful, and self-confident; externally, it provokes a tempting, irresistible beauty to the onlooker.

There is, however, a third influence beneath the powdered mask that is unseen and unfelt by the consumer, and that is makeup’s ability to cause destruction: pre-mature ageing, deteriorating collagen production, and potentially in extreme cases, sickness and disease.

Consider the experiment conducted by Anna Pursglove, a journalist from London’s The Daily Mail, who embarked on a 30-day trial to not only leave her makeup on each and every night, but to apply more makeup on top of old makeup every morning.

The single most important observation: make-up disrupts the body’s natural cellular processes and functions.

In Anna Pursglove’s article dated July 29, 2013, she states, “By night three… I had developed a series of tiny white cysts around my eyelashes and my skin was so dry and taut, it felt like a mask.” As time progressed, her “lips became dry,” and she had “visibly blocked and enlarged pores” all over her nose.

At the conclusion of her 30-day experiment, it was noted that the surface texture of her skin was “around ten per cent worse (i.e. more uneven),” and there was “a five per cent drop in moisture levels.” Her pores revealed that her “skin had aged over the month,” and her expert consultants estimated that Anna’s “skin was biologically approximately a decade older than before” her experiment had begun.

slept in make up for a month
Before and after: Experts said Anna’s skin aged by ten years as a result of not removing her make-up for an entire month

I know what you’re thinking: “This is an extreme experiment that has no basis in reality.” It is, however, in extreme examples that we can sometimes see hidden dangers of our daily activities.

Take, for example, the documentary film Super Size Me. Admittedly, it’s true that most people will never eat fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 30 straight days, but the fact remains that during this time period, the filmmaker gained 24 ½ pounds, experienced a 13 per cent body mass increase, displayed a cholesterol level of 230 (below 200 is considered normal) and suffered from an accumulation of fat around in his liver.

While this example is extreme, it does highlight the inherent risk of eating fast food too often; and even for people who don’t eat fast food, or strictly unhealthy food for three square meals a day, there’s no denying that obesity and the prevalence of chronic diseases is in part a result of diet.

By contrast, eating a nutrient-dense, raw, vegan diet for 30 days straight (for all your daily meals) would not only not cause harmful side effects, but this diet has been shown to actually reverse type-two diabetes.

So while Anna Pursglove’s experiment confirmed the pitfalls of not removing your makeup before going to sleep, the important question that we also need to ask is, as a more typical makeup regimen, what are the pitfalls of wearing makeup for the eight to fourteen hours a day while you’re not sleeping?

About face: Sleeping with her make-up on for a month left Anna's smooth skin looking cracked and red
About face: Sleeping with her make-up on for a month left Anna’s smooth skin looking cracked and red

After all, makeup, no matter what hour you’re wearing it, will clog your pours. This can lead to breakouts, acne, and blemishes. Additionally, makeup will interfere with the normal shedding of skin – and on average, we shed thirty-five thousand cells per hour.

Even more dangerous is makeup’s ability to absorb and trap environmental pollutants, which dermatologist Annie Chiu says, can “damage the cellular structures in your skin.” This can, as the Daily Mail reported, lead to “oxidative stress, where skin is attacked by harmful free radicals.” The pollutants can also lead to a decrease in collagen, which Dr. Chiu points out, “keeps us looking youthful.”

The most pernicious problem, however, are the poisons that your skin will absorb from the some 82,000 synthetic chemicals toxins used in the manufacturing of cosmetics – lead (in lipsticks), parabens, sulfates, acrylamides, DEA, MEA, and TEA to name a few.

On August 20, 2013 the New York Times reported that “Most lipsticks [over 400] contain at least a trace of lead… But a new study finds a wide range of brands contain as many as eight other metals [cadmium, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper and nickel.]”

Yes, there is great danger in not removing you makeup before hitting the sack, but it seems equally dangerous to wear chemically-laden makeup during any hour of the day.

Even Dr. Travis Stork from CBS’s The Doctors acknowledges that “makeup free days are important” – because it’s “good for your skin.” The obvious inference is that makeup is then bad for your skin. After all, who would ever advocate that one should take a break from the healthy, good things in life, such as kale, broccoli, or tomatoes?

If beautiful, soft, younger looking skin is your desired goal, a makeup free lifestyle is the first step in achieving that goal.

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