Is your lipstick toxic? Lead and other dangerous heavy metals are being found in popular commercial brands of lipstick. What’s up with that?
I will be the first to admit that I love a good lipstick. Nothing better than a luscious pair of lips. But at what cost? Is lipstick making us sick?
Researchers at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health published a study in 2013 that detected lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals in many popular brands of lipsticks and lip glosses commonly found in drugstores and department stores. Heavy metals in lipstick?
“Just finding these metals isn’t the issue; it’s the levels that matter,” said study principal investigator S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health sciences. “Some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could possibly have an effect in the long term.”
The study goes on the analyze the health risks of using these cosmetics on a daily basis. It is estimated that an average lipstick user ingests about 24 milligrams of lip makeup per day, while a heavy user who reapplies several times a day ingests up to 87 milligrams ingested per day. The study determined that an average use of lipsticks and lip glosses would result in excessive exposure to chromium, a carcinogen linked to stomach tumors. Higher use could result in overexposure to aluminum, cadmium and manganese as well. High levels of manganese has been linked to toxicity in the nervous system.
The study also noted that children are especially susceptible to heavy metal accumulation and should not play with make up.
IS THIS SAFE?
Currently there are no standards in the United States for metal content in cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration has looked into lead in lipstick and found that, generally, the amounts are very low and do not pose any safety concerns. It has not set limits for lead in cosmetics. It’s interesting that the European Union considers cadmium, chromium and lead to be unacceptable ingredients – at any level – in cosmetic products.
In 2007 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics randomly purchased more than 30 lipsticks in four cities and sent them to a lab for lead testing. The study found that 20 out of the 30 lipsticks contained lead, with the highest levels found in products made by L’Oreal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior. Unfortunately, studies like these are swept under the rug by claims that the levels found are negligible and do not cause a health threat. Does that sound right to you?
HEALTH RISKS OF HEAVY METALS
- Lead accumulation in the body can negatively affect the nervous system, immune system and the kidneys. Lead poisoning is difficult to diagnose as it can manifest in may ways including fatigue, insomnia, fertility issues, headache and joint pain, loss of appetite, and irritability. Children as especially susceptible to lead poisoning.
- Cadmium exposure has been linked to kidney damage and possibly also bone effects and fractures.
- Arsenic exposure has been linked to increased risks of skin, bladder, liver, and lung cancer.
- Mercury toxicity is known to cause damage and disruption to the nervous system. Chronic poisoning is characterized by neurological and psychological symptoms, such as tremor, changes in personality, restlessness, anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression.
- Manganese exposure has been linked to nervous system issues and can cause learning difficulties, behavioral changes, brain injury, and slow and clumsy movements.
HOW TO CHOOSE A SAFE LIPSTICK?
1. Do Your Research
Visit the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep website to check out harmful ingredients in your cosmetics at EWG’s SkinDeep: Cosmetics Database. Check out The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to to learn more about toxic chemicals in make up. You can also download Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Hidden Heavy Metals in Face Makeup to read about specific brands and types of beauty products that have been tested.
2. Make Your Own
3. Buy a Non-Toxic Brand
I’ve tried a few different brands of non-toxic lipsticks, and my personal favorite is definitely by Beautycounter. Beautycounter is an up and coming cosmetic company whose mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. With their ultra-strict screen process for ingredients, they are becoming the leader in creating safe personal care products for families. And the stuff works! I not only use their lipsticks, I use their facial cleaner, exfoliator, and sunscreen as well.
Here’s my favorite lip products from Beautycounter:
LIP SHINE: A non-sticky, light lip gloss that goes on smooth and looks amazing. Use alone or over your favorite lipstick for a bit of dimension. You can check the Lip Shine out HERE.
LIP SHEER: The ultimate natural lipstick that really works! A formula that feels lightweight yet luxurious on lips while moisturizing and conditioning, too. So many great colors. My personal favs are NUDE and PETAL. You can check out the Lip Sheer HERE.
LIP GLOSS: A moisturizing Lip Gloss that goes on smoothly—with no stickiness. Three great colors: Peony, Buff, and Sienna. Check out the Lip Gloss HERE.
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Now it’s your turn to talk! What are your thought about heavy metals in your make up?
photo credit : depositphotos @ AndreyPopov