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    Is Mineral Makeup Better? continued...

    In addition, the non-comedogenic properties of mineral makeup mean it shouldn’t irritate acne or clog pores. And many mineral cosmetics contain ingredients such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide that give mineral makeup the benefits of a sunscreen.

    But opinions are mixed. Some mineral makeup products may have ingredients like bismuth oxychloride, which is not a natural mineral but a byproduct of copper and lead processing. It can irritate skin and may cause rashes and aggravate acne. Minerals that are very finely ground may also be an inhalation hazard, says Lunder.

    Unlike drugs, cosmetics (except for some color additives in hair dyes) currently do not have to be tested or approved by the FDA before they are sold. However, the proposed FDA Globalization Act of 2009 would require stricter cosmetic regulation and stronger FDA enforcement, including disclosure of most ingredients in cosmetics and a revised process for reviewing ingredient safety.

    “A lot of products aren’t fully regulated to standards parents would care about,” says Lunder, who suggests shopping for products with the fewest ingredients and avoiding ingredients you suspect may be harmful. She also suggests that parents urge their kids to use only a handful of cosmetics and choose those items carefully.

    Because young girls especially like to experiment with makeup, parents can be proactive by checking out ingredients in cosmetics before they allow their children to use them. The Environmental Working Group’s online Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database offers safety information for nearly 62,000 products containing more than 7,600 ingredients. You can search for items by brand name or product category and make choices based on safety ratings.

    Starting With Skin Care Basics

    Besides chemicals in cosmetics, perhaps a more significant concern for older children and teenagers is basic skin care with good products.

    “The biggest thing for kids of this age is that so many of them are acne prone,” says Farris. “They watch all this stuff on TV and read all these beauty magazine and then use heavier creams and moisturizers that exacerbate their acne problems.”

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