Uglyface of your beauty regime
Whether we're slapping on beauty products, spraying on deodorant or slathering on the hair dye, we all strive to look and smell good on a daily basis.
However we often do it without even a second thought to what we are actually putting into or on to our bodies.
A recent study from biochemist Richard Bence suggests that women who use make-up every day are flooding their bodies with as much as 5lbs of chemicals each year.
So what are the hidden consequences of our product-rich beauty regimes. Your Life investigates...
It's tempting to apply lipstick several times a day, but do we ever stop to think about where it actually magically disappears to? Could it be that the sweet treat we scoffed for lunch was accompanied by a petroleum-laced lipstick coulis?
"The average woman will eat two pounds of lipstick in her lifetime," says Ruth Wallerius, founder of PurelyNatural.net "Most lipsticks contain petroleum derivatives so try brands based on beeswax, plant oils or vitamin E."
Despite recommendations eye make-up should be thrown away after six months, a shocking 92 per cent of women admit they keep their mascara for longer. And two-thirds of us use eye make-up that's over two years old.
Dr Susan Blakeney of The College of Optometrists, explains why we shouldn't. "Mascara can be a breeding ground for bacteria," she says. "Nearly half of women suffer from itchy, watery and red eyes when they are keeping make-up for so long and sharing it among their friends."
Those who use permanent hair dye are 2.1 times more likely to develop bladder cancer (as are their hairdressers) according to the International Journal of Cancer.
Both ammonia and paraphenylenediamine (PPD) - a chemical substance widely used in dyes - can cause allergic reactions too. Hairdresser Karine Jackson says she's switched to organic dye after investigating the alternatives.
"When a client who'd recently had cancer asked if there was a chemical-free option I realised there wasn't much out there that didn't contain ammonia," she reveals. "I found a British company, Herb UK, who make an organic colouring system that contains no ammonia and only 0.4 per cent PPD as opposed to the usual seven per cent."
You've been faithfully brushing twice daily since childhood but some pastes contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) - known to cause recurrent mouth ulcers. It's been prohibited in bubble baths because it can cause rashes and infection.
Teeth whitening kits
A pearly white smile is obviously appealing but teeth whitening kits can have their pitfalls too.
Dr Phil Stemmer, dentist to Jude Law and Patsy Kensit, reveals, "Over-the-counter whitening kits use chemicals with a low pH which are highly acidic.
"Acid softens and dissolves tooth enamel which can mean your teeth could end up weaker and looking more yellow."
You are likely to already know about the dangers of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease, linked to tampon use.
But some pads may contain chlorine-bleached wood pulp.
Chlorine bleaching produces an unwanted by-product called dioxin which has been linked to cancer, endometriosis and immune system suppression.
Aluminium in antiperspirants has been highlighted after tests on women who've had mastectomies found high levels of metal in their outer breast tissue. Research has showed that metal could cause cancer and tests suggest parabens - chemicals in beauty products and toiletries - are also linked with the killer disease.
Around 79 per cent of liquid soaps and 29 per cent of bar soaps contain triclosan - an antibiotic designed to kill a wide variety of germs.
However it seems this trend for cleanliness could actually be too effective and lead to bacterial resistance. This in turn can contribute to incidence of MRSA.
Friends of the Earth's Safer Chemicals Campaigner, Mary Taylor, recently commented, "This chemical is an unnecessary addition to most products and retailers should phase out such products as soon as possible."
So is it really worth the risk of using chemically-loaded cosmetics?
"I believe you can cut your chances of breast cancer if you cut out synthetic chemicals that you apply to your hair and skin, Dr Paula Baillie-Hamilton, author of Toxic Overload, says.
"When you put a product onto your skin it will be absorbed into the bloodstream. Parabens essentially mimic female hormones and can trigger cell division or cell growth.
"So cut back on chemicals and go for natural brands which are free of synthetic fragrances and preservatives."
MUMS AND BABIES BEWARE!
"One of the main things to avoid in pregnancy are laurel sulphates (often in shampoos and toothpaste)," says Leila Wilcox, founder of Halos and Horns, who produce chemical-free toiletries for children. "Your skin absorbs around 60 per cent of products so what you apply to your skin goes into your system which is then absorbed by your foetus.
"Parabens (often in deodorants, shampoo and make-up) have been linked with cancer so should be avoided too. We recommend you don't bathe your baby in anything apart from plain warm water for at least a month after the birth. Their skin is tender and thin and the chemicals that they absorb leave them with skin problems for the rest of their lives. Use olive oil on dry cracked skin or even breast milk!"
Baby wipes often contain propylene glycol, a chemical that carries moisture in cosmetics. A common ingredient in anti-freeze and paint it's classified by the government as a "safe toxin".
Talcum powder contains a substance similar to asbestos and the use of talc has been linked to increased cases of ovarian cancer.
Uglyface of your beauty regime - Your Life - Showbiz - Mirror.co.uk