Makeup that makes you uglier

If you've been battling rashes and other skin reactions lately, it's not just bad skin, bad stress or bad luck.

It's bad makeup -- and there's a lot of it out there.

One ingredient turning up in everything from skin cream to baby wipes is responsible for what dermatologists are calling an epidemic of skin allergies in adults and kids alike.

It's a preservative called MI -- and a related one called MCI -- used to stop bacteria from growing.

Now, I think bacteria-free cosmetics and baby wipes is a great idea. But there's got to be a better option than MI -- because this chemical is responsible for more skin reactions than just about anything except for nickel.

In fact, a full 20 percent of kids and 1 in 12 adults are allergic to this stuff.

Yeah, it's that bad.

On the other hand, it's hardly the worst of the garbage turning up in your cosmetics -- because you'll find everything from cancer-causing chemicals to dangerous and untested nanoparticles in skin creams, body lotions and more.

And as I told you last year, perfumes are loaded with dangerous chemicals known as phthalates, which can double the risk of diabetes in senior women.

There's no easy answer here, because I know how most women feel about their makeup. But if you're not willing to learn to love your natural skin, at least switch to something safer.

The hippy-dippy radicals at Environmental Working Group often go way too far with their blanket dismissal of even the most harmless chemicals -- but they do have a pretty useful guide to cosmetics, which you can read for free online right here.