Is Your Make-Up Dangerous?

by Brenda Pitt


Let’s face it, lipstick is pretty cool. It takes so much skill and grace to apply it, and it oozes vintage glam. But it also contains toxic metals: eek! The majority of lipsticks contain lead, but the amounts are pretty trace. Until recently, researchers were relatively unconcerned, but then they figured out that higher levels of eight other metals are also present in many brands. 


University of California at Berkeley environmental health professor Dr. Katherine Hammond tells The New York Times, “It matters because this is a chronic long-term issue, not a short term exposure.” Women applying lipstick multiple times a day may face health dangers. While consuming trace amounts of metals is a fact of life, lead and other metals can accumulate in our systems over time. 


So what lipsticks are potentially dangerous? Apparently, brands used by teens were particularly scrutinized by Hammond and her team. The New York Times explains,  “The girls reported reapplying lipsticks or glosses as often as 24 times a day.” This might be hard to believe, but I remember carrying a certain lipgloss in my binder back in middle school, reapplying it whenever I zoned out in class. 


Lipsticks contain varying amounts of aluminum (the metal keeps colors from running) and titanium oxide (an ingredient in pink lipsticks). Sparkles in glosses and sticks are created by microscopic shavings of mica. Brown lipsticks have the highest concentration of lead, and lighter colors are typically safer. 


So what’s a lipstick-loving gal to do? Hammond suggests limiting exposure by reapplying only two to three times per day; she says, “Treat it like something dangerous, because if [we] eat it we are taking about a comparatively large level of metals going into a small body,” she said.


So be careful with your lipstick, ladies, but don’t be afraid to rock it in moderation. 


Thanks to The New York Times 

Image via Tree Hugger

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