Bismuth Oxychloride in Makeup

before and after acne from bismuth oxychloride

 

What is Bismuth Oxychloride?

Bismuth oxychloride is an inorganic compound of bismuth with the formula BiOCl. It is a lustrous white solid, found naturally in the rare mineral bismoclite. It is a heavy metal.

It is a component of some cosmetics, and has been used as such since antiquity, notably in ancient Egypt. Light wave interference from its plate-like structure of alternating layers of bismuth, oxygen, and chlorine atoms gives its suspensions a pearly iridescent light reflectivity similar to nacre, otherwise known as "mother of pearl"

It has been used in cosmetics since the days of ancient Egypt. It is part of the "pearly pigment found in eye shadow, hair sprays, powders, nail polishes, and other cosmetic products".

It's Use in Mineral Foundation

Due to the particle size of bismuth oxychloride, when used in mineral foundation it is necessary to buff it well into the pores. The particle fills the pore and provides a smooth, lustrous look.

However, left on the skin, it can clog pores and cause acne, even cystic acne.

Many people report itching and redness, and is often time associated with bismuth oxychloride.

Once switching to a mineral foundation with NO bismuth oxychloride, users have reported reduction in irritation, and acne clearing up. 

What brands include bismuth oxychloride? Well we won't name them here, but lets just say the MOST well known brand of mineral makeup includes it, and surprisingly even brands touting the "most natural" flag. Just do yourself a favor and READ the INGREDIENTS before you buy. 

Substitutions for Bismuth Oxychloride

Boron Nitride and certain types of Mica can provide the same lustrous smooth look, but at a high cost. Cost of ingredients is a top priority for many major makeup companies. However, the risk of irritation of a know irritant should take priority over cost, and would also result in happier, repeat customers.

LA Minerals does not use bismuth oxychloride in any of our formulations.

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