Why Coal Tar in Your Cosmetics Isn’t a Good Thing

Petroleum. . . Not For Your Face

coal tar

Coal Tar is a mixture of different chemicals. Derived from petroleum, it is is widely recognized as a carcinogen. The risk of cancer is often a concern for Coal Tar colours in cosmetics. The colours are also contaminated with low levels of heavy metals. Many heavy metals are toxic to brain function and development. According to Safe Cosmetics, this chemical has caused other health concerns like organ system toxicity and bioaccumulation. Beauty products are instructed to display a warning label. It is clear we must avoid products that include this chemical.


  • eyeshadow
  • bronzer
  • lipstick
  • hair dye


P-phenylenediamine and colours identified by “C.I” followed by a five digit number. 


Skin Sensitization: Evidence correlates p-phenylenediamine as a common skin allergen with a 5% sensitization rate.

Cancer: P-phenylenediamine has been linked to cancer through laboratory tests conducted by the US National Cancer Institute. One study found a correlation between hair dye and an increased disk of developing non-Hodgkins’s lymphoma

Organ System Toxicity: P-phenylenediamine is highly toxic when ingested.

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