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Bismuth Oxychloride

Rutuja Jathar
One of the most commonly used active substances in mineral makeup products is Bismuth oxychloride. But, is it dangerous for the skin in the long run? Let's find out.
Mineral makeup is supposedly the best way to protect our skin from the harsh chemicals present in regular beauty products and makeup essentials. As we know, mineral makeup is free from skin irritating chemicals, alcohols, paraben, and other preservatives.
It is the reason why mineral makeup is upheld by ladies worldwide. Are all the ingredients in mineral makeup safe? Not exactly! According to many, bismuth oxychloride, which is present in these cosmetics, can be harmful for the skin.


Bismuth is a heavy and brittle metal, while oxychloride is an inorganic pigment that comes in two basic forms, namely - pearl finish and diamond finish, wherein pearl gives you a matte finish and the diamond gives you a shimmery finish.
To eliminate its harmfulness further more, it is then treated with water that removes the chlorine from it and the final product that you gain is bismuth oxychloride. It is one of the most used substances for making several mineral cosmetics.
However, it in itself is not a safe element, when it is used in cosmetics, since most of the products are actually byproducts gained from refining processes of several substances like gold, silver, tin, copper, and lead.

Use in Cosmetics

This mineral is very popular for the silky effect that it provides to the mineral based cosmetics. Since it is an adhesive, it's useful to avoid the draggy and patchy effect of mineral makeup for dry skin. A lustrous crystalline form is used in various cosmetics like blushes, foundations, eye shadow and all other color providing makeup products.
It is the major ingredient that provides a kind of sheen to the mineral makeup. Another factor that makes mineral makeup more popular, is its light reflecting property that helps you to conceal skin discoloration, wrinkles, and black spots.
It is the reason why some of the most leading brands of beauty products like Arbonne, Bare Escentuals, GLO Minerals, Sheer Cover, Youngblood, Laura Mercier, Neutrogena, etc., contain this ingredient. Despite its various beautifying benefits, one cannot deny the fact that it is not an earth material.
Mineral makeup is supposedly the best way to avoid the skin damage which is caused by chemicals. But when it causes skin damage, it is important to search for a better form like organic or natural mineral makeup.
To get a better insight, you can always read up on some mineral makeup reviews and then select the products that don't contain harmful substances like, trisodium EDTA, methylparaben, manganese violet, etc.
There are a few brands of bismuth oxychloride free cosmetics like - Abby St. Clare, Artemis, Aromaleigh, Beaute Mineral, Coastal Cosmetics, Herbal Natures, Herbs of Grace, LaurEss, M A D Minerals, and Pure Luxe, and Twisted Fayte.


First of all, let me tell you that bismuth oxychloride is an USFDA recognized substance that can be used in beauty products. According to the USFDA's dictation of Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, it is safe for usage only when free from all impurities. Hence, one cannot say that it is bad for the skin.
However, there is another issue that should be considered, which is allergy. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), it is a potential skin irritant. Since it is a heavy metal, it gets inside the skin pores and causes acne and such other skin disorders.
According to some experts, it can also be a probable cause of cystic acne among regular mineral makeup wearers. Hence, you need to think twice before using such makeup for oily skin. However, the allergy varies from person to person.
Thus, if you are allergic to several chemicals and cosmetics, make sure you consult your dermatologist and then use the beauty products that contain this mineral.
Even if you are not allergic, wearing mineral makeup for a short period of time and removing it properly will allow your skin to breathe and remain healthy!