Dangerous Cosmetics Can Cause Chemical Burns and Other Injuries

Aug 24, 2021

Cosmetics and personal care products are some of the least regulated items you can buy. As a result, many of these products are packed with toxic chemicals, and some of them cause serious health problems. When unsafe cosmetics result in chemical burns and other injuries or illnesses, manufacturers may face liability. If a manufacturer fails to warn you of a risk, or a cosmetic product does not come with clear instructions, you may be entitled to compensation if you sustain an injury.

We’ll look at some of the most problematic products below:

Hair Dye

Hair dye can contain paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a chemical compound found in gasoline and used to make rubber tires. PPD can cause serious allergic reactions and dermatitis (inflammation and irritation of the skin).

Manufacturers should list PPD as an ingredient in hair dye and warn consumers about the potential for adverse reactions. They should also instruct consumers to perform a patch-test (applying dye to a small area of skin to test for any allergic reaction) before applying hair dye to the scalp.

Many people want their eyebrows and facial hair to match the hair on their head, as well, so manufacturers must also specify whether their dye is appropriate for eyebrows, eyelashes, or other facial hair.

Combe, Inc. recently faced a class-action lawsuit for Just for Men hair and beard products because it failed to warn certain users about a higher risk of harmful reactions.

People who use hair dyes should also watch out for coal tar dyes, which can irritate the skin and make people go blind. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reminds consumers that “there are no color additives approved by FDA for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes and eyebrows.”

Shampoo and Hair Straighteners

Some of the substances in shampoo can cause sensitivities and even lead to cancer. Manufacturers must clearly label the ingredients their products contain and warn people about potential irritation with sulfates and certain oils. Additionally, manufacturers should not overload their products with potentially harmful chemicals.

Hair straightening products may also contain formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). In independent tests, many hair straighteners marketed as formaldehyde-free turned out to contain formaldehyde.


According to Refinery29, your skincare shouldn’t hurt. A few seconds of tingling might be appropriate for some products, but sustained irritation usually means a product isn’t right for you. When it comes to skincare, products must also be used – and combined – appropriately, so the instructions on the package are extremely important.

For example, you should not combine retinol cream and alpha hydroxy acids, and you should apply sunscreen after using certain products.

Unfortunately, skin creams are also prone to contamination with harmful products. Skin-lightening products, specifically, may contain unsafe levels of mercury, which can lead to mercury poisoning.

You should also be aware of formaldehyde and heavy metals. Foundations and face powders, for instance, could contain traces of talc and asbestos, which may be harmful when inhaled.

When it comes to cosmetics, you should watch out for counterfeit products, too, as they are more likely to contain toxic chemicals and pose serious health risks.

Eye Makeup

Mascara is a breeding ground for bacteria, and manufacturers should include expiration dates. As a rule, you should change out your mascara every 3 months.

Eyeliner can also present problems, especially when it is manufactured with kohl. Watch out for products that use unsafe color additives and always keep cosmetics away from children.

Eye shadow has many of the same problems as face powders in that it may emit particles that are unsafe for inhalation. Everyday exposure to asbestos can lead to serious lung problems.

Lead in Lipstick

FDA testing has uncovered lead in 100 percent of the lipsticks testing. Lipsticks pose no danger if used correctly but can cause problems if they are consumed. Manufacturers should warn consumers to keep lipstick and other cosmetics away from children, who may be more susceptible to lead poisoning.

Can I Sue for My Chemical Burn?

As a consumer, you rely on a product’s packaging for instructions on how to use the product, a list of ingredients, and any relevant warnings.

If you avoid products you have a known sensitivity to, or even the “18 Ingredients a Clean Cosmetic Chemist Would Avoid,” and follow the instructions for use, you should not suffer a chemical burn or any other adverse reactions.

Should you suffer an injury, the manufacturer may be to blame.

If you suffer severe skin irritation, a chemical burn affecting more than 3 inches of skin, shock, scarring, or any other signs and symptoms of a serious chemical burn, you may want to speak to an attorney.

At Frish Law Group, APLC, we encourage you to share the details of your case, so we can find out if the manufacturer sold you a counterfeit, contaminated, mislabeled, or otherwise dangerous product.

If the manufacturer made a mistake, you may be entitled to compensation, and we have the experience and dedication needed to help you get it.

Our attorneys have been helping people like you since 2008, and we are available 24/7, so don’t hesitate to call us at (818) 686-5527 or contact us online to get the legal help you need today.