10 Popular Beauty Products With Pretty Ugly Side Effects

We do some crazy things to ourselves in the name of beauty — so crazy, in fact, that some of them can even be downright dangerous! It’s true: Some of the simple things we do to look our best every single day could be hazardous to our health.

1. Waist Trainers

Waist Trainers

These corset-like contraptions are super-popular with celebs like Khloe Kardashian, but experts say they can lead to everything from compressed lungs to fractured ribs to crushed organs. Plus, they probably don’t even work!

2. Microbead Cleansers

Microbead Cleansers

Not only are the little plastic beads in some of the top-selling facial cleansers on the market polluting the oceans, but scrubbing with microbeads can create tiny tears in the skin, leaving it open to infection.

3. Spray Tans

Spray Tans

Looking to get an artificial glow? Getting a spray tan means avoiding harmful UV rays, but it unfortunately exposes you to the chemical DHA, which can cause DNA damage and genetic alterations.

4. Hair Ties

Hair Ties

Look down at your wrist: Is there a hair tie on it? Might want to put it in your hair where it belongs, as a woman recently contracted a life-threatening infection from bacteria on the glitter hair tie she was wearing on her wrist. Sure, it’s a rare side effect, but yikes.

5. Hair Extensions

Hair Extensions

While hair extensions are supposed to create the illusion of having more hair, using them improperly can lead to fewer locks on your head: The pulling and weight from extensions can lead to a kind of baldness called “traction alopecia” (as well as headaches!).

6. Botox


Just because getting Botox injections to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles is an extremely commonplace procedure these days doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent safe: In rare cases, the botulism toxin can spread to other parts of the body, causing symptoms such as muscle weakness, trouble breathing, vision problems, and loss of bladder control.

7. Fish Pedicure

Fish Pedicure

Sure, letting tiny toothless fish nibble your callouses away is weird, but what can it hurt? A lot, as it turns out: The fish used in these pedicures have been shown to sometimes carry Group B Streptococcus, bacteria which can cause everything from pneumonia to blood and bone infections.

8. Circle Contact Lenses

Circle Contact Lenses

So-called “circle” contact lenses, which are popular for making eyes look anime-style enormous, are technically illegal in the states — but they’re still easy to obtain online. The fact that they’re illegal, however, means they’re unregulated, and poorly fitting contact lenses can scratch the cornea, leading to permanent vision loss.

9. Fake Nails

Fake Nails

While fake nails rarely lead to health problems, your risk of infection does increase when wearing them, as does your risk of ripping your real nail right off your finger. Be sure to keep those new nails clean and well maintained!

10. Keratin Straightening Treatment

Keratin Straightening Treatment

According to the FDA, some keratin straightening treatments (particularly the Brazilian Blowout) contain dangerously high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Go curly, ladies!

-Jacqueline Burt Cote

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