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Functions as a colorant, adding a white pigment to cosmetic products. It's frequently contained in makeup because it provides good slip, a silky feel and an excellent dermal adhesion that enables makeup to stay on the skin for long periods of time. It's especially popular with mineral powder makeup because can give either a white shimmer or pearlescent matte finish to the face. This glow serves several aesthetic purposes because, by reflecting light away from the skin, it helps camouflage wrinkles and age spots. This ingredient also functions as a bulking agent for liquid formulations. You can find it in products such as blush, powder foundation, eyeshadow, bronzer, lipstick and nail polish.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined this ingredient as safe to use in coloring cosmetics and personal products. Because it is a metal derivative, many believe this ingredient to be toxic and harmful to the body. In actuality, Bismuth exists as the only non-toxic heavy metal, and Bismuth oxychloride is most likely non-toxic. However, it should be noted that this ingredient shares a very similar chemical composition to arsenic.
The biggest concern about using Bismuth Oxychloride is that it frequently causes irritation and sensitization such as redness, itching, rashes and inflammation. The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) lists it as a potential irritant to humans when come into contact with the skin and/or eyes. Because of its molecular crystalline shape, many individuals experience itching from this ingredient, particularly when they sweat.
It is mostly known to cause irritation when used in the form of mineral makeup powder. Higher concentrations of this ingredient are used in mineral powders because, unlike liquid foundation, powders do not contain many fillers. In addition, because Bismuth Oxychloride is a heavy mineral with large molecules, it tends to slide off the face. As a result, many makeup companies advise individuals to continously "buff" the powder onto the face to keep it from sliding off the pores. This constant buffing can cause significant inflammation and irritation, particularly with sensitive skin types. It can also worsen acne to a cystic level, and cause Rosacea to flare. For this reason, it is not recommended for sensitive skin types, especially those with acne or Rosacea.