Is Lipstick Safe?

If you think that lipstick or eye shadow of yours is safe, you’d better think again. Nearly every cosmetic product tested in one study, contained a potentially dangerous or proven toxic heavy metal. About $50 billion is spent on personal care products, but the government doesn’t require any mandatory testing for these products before they hit the shelves

Some products such as lipstick, deodorants, shampoos and other personal care products, seldom undergo testing, and they don’t even list a complete list of ingredients. Applying your lipstick several times a day could easily be ingesting high amounts of lead over the course of your lifetime, along with any number of other unknown chemical additives. Absorbing chemicals through your skin can occur, and not only when ingested.

The FDA received 127 complaints of adverse events along with more than 21,000 grievances sent directly to the manufacturers of WEN hair care for itching, skin irritation and hair loss. A bipartisan bill in 2015, sponsored by senators from Maine and California, was introduced to require FDA participation in cosmetic regulation. A bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, after an initial reading. It essentially says the FDA must review the safety of at least five cosmetic ingredients each year and establish conditions for safe use, that a cosmetic cannot be sold if it contains an ingredient that is not safe, and if the FDA determines a cosmetic has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences, it may prohibit the distribution of the cosmetic. But, with a single tube of lipstick typically containing a dozen ingredients, testing just five a year would take many decades. That doesn’t make me feel any safer, do you?

Testing these cosmetics has revealed serious heavy metal contamination in virtually all of the products.

  • 96% contained lead

  • 90% contained beryllium

  • 61% contained thallium

  • 51% contained cadmium

  • 20% contained arsenic

Most of these cosmetics contained an average of 4 of the 8 metals tested (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, beryllium, thallium, selenium). Even more distressing, each product contained an average of 2 of the 4 metals of highest concern (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury). These metals have a toxic designation in Canada, as they’ve been proven to trigger health issues.

Lipstick may contain up to 8 different metals.

Industry sales in 2015 reached $56.2 billion and the global cosmetics market reached $460 billion with estimations of reaching $675 billion in 2020.

There are other metals found in lipstick and these metals increase your cancer risk. Aluminum, chromium, copper, cobalt, titanium, and manganese are also found in lipstick. There was lead found in 75% of lip products and some of the samples had concentrations higher than the FDA published standards. It is found through a study that lipstick could lead to dangerous levels of manganese with 7 of the products tested, and high levels of chromium in 22 of the products tested.

Few women are ready to get rid of lipstick, as it is their identity as far as being feminine, and as a way to boost self-confidence. There is a complete list of your options of avoiding lipsticks that contain more lead than others, and safe alternatives you might consider. Visit to view the entire list, and the complete article on the safety of lipstick and makeup.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

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