We all know what a swipe of lipstick can do to up your glam quotient. But while it adds an edge to your style and makes you feel more confident, not everything is hunky-dory about the lipstick.
The lipsticks that you use on an everyday basis contain harmful heavy metals and preservatives. Other than leaching in through the pores on your lips, these heavy metals and other chemicals can also be accidentally ingested.
Long-term exposure to such substances can cause toxin to build up beyond the “safe” or acceptable limit and even lead to serious medical conditions, including cancer.1
1. Lead Affects Your Heart And Brain
Most of the lead in our body comes from the air, water, and food. Lead from lipsticks and other lip products add to this. The risk of lead intake is higher in case of lipsticks or lip products than with other cosmetics because these are often ingested accidentally. When the lead is absorbed by your body, it is distributed to your blood, soft tissues, and bones. Excess lead affects your heart and causes hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease, and heart rate variability.
As a neurotoxin, lead can also reduce brain function and affect the nervous system. It might, thus, result in memory and concentration problems. In fact, extreme lead poisoning has been known to cause epilepsy, loss of consciousness, and even death.
A 2007 study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 varieties of lipstick for lead contamination. A whopping 20 of these tested positive for lead in variable amounts, with some popular and expensive brands containing lead in higher amounts.5
In 2012, the FDA developed a new method of testing for lead and ran it on 400 lipstick and other lip product samples from different brands. All of them contained lead, from a minuscule amount less than 0.026 parts per million (ppm) to 7.19 ppm. Until then, the FDA did not have any restrictions on the amount of lead in cosmetic products that can be considered safe for human intake. The FDA has now issued a draft guidance to cosmetic lip products and externally applied cosmetic manufacturers to limit the amount of lead to 10 ppm, an amount that it considers nonhazardous.
Most popular lipstick brands now claim that they take measures to keep the lead content below the unsafe levels.