Lipsticks contain toxic preservatives and heavy metals like lead and cadmium that could affect your heart, kidney, brain, and nervous system. Although most lipsticks are approved for safety by the FDA, unbranded local products could be harmful. To avoid the ingestion of these heavy metals, don’t apply lipstick more than 2 or 3 times a day.
We all know what a swipe of lipstick can do to up your glam quotient. Once considered promiscuous and cheeky, lipstick has grown to be an irreplaceable part of a woman’s (or a man’s!) makeup kit. While it adds an edge to your style and makes you feel more confident, not everything is hunky-dory when it comes to the lipstick. Here are some not-so-pretty things that lipsticks do to your body.
The lipsticks that we use on an everyday basis – particularly the unbranded ones – contain harmful heavy metals and preservatives. And when you accidentally ingest lipstick, you also ingest and expose your body to these trace metals beyond the “safe” or acceptable limit. Continuous exposure to heavy metals can take a toll on your body and cause serious medical conditions, including cancer.
However, do note that applying lipstick isn’t necessarily toxic. You only need to worry if your lipstick is locally produced and isn’t approved by the FDA. Like with everything else, check the label.
1. Lead Affects Your Heart And Brain
When the lead present in lipsticks is absorbed by your body, it is distributed to your blood, soft tissues, and bones. If there is an excess quantity of lead in your body, it could affect your heart and cause hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease, and heart rate variability.
Additionally, lead in your system 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 lead to epilepsy, loss of consciousness, and death.
2. Cadmium Can Cause Kidney Failure
Another heavy metal that is found in lipstick is cadmium. Since cadmium cannot be easily excreted by your body, it builds up in the kidney, thereby compromising its function and increasing your risk of kidney failure. Another interesting fact to note is that cadmium poisoning and its effects on the kidney are more severe in women than men, as the body burden of cadmium is higher among women.
3. Preservatives Could Cause Breast Cancer
Well-known lipstick brands are approved by the FDA and are safe. However, unbranded products might contain toxic preservatives that exceed the acceptable limit. Some preservatives like parabens are known to cause cancer, especially of the breast. Lipsticks that utilize these preservatives can also cause milder side effects like the irritation of the eyes, coughing, wheezing, and skin irritation.
Ideally, Apply Lipstick Just Twice In A Day
Ideally, you should apply lipstick no more than twice a day. According to a study conducted by the University of California, lipstick could be dangerous to your health if you apply it between 2 and 19 times a day. So, while re-touching your lips after every meal isn’t particularly harmful, if you find yourself reaching for that lipstick about 15 times a day, you might want to cut back.
Lipstick Can Be Harmful To Kids If Ingested
If your kids accidentally eat or swallow lipstick, they might experience diarrhea or vomiting. In most cases lipstick ingestion causes only mild toxicity to the stomach and intestines. But, to be on the safer side, if your child displays the symptoms of “lipstick poisoning,” it is wise to seek immediate help.9
Avoid Unbranded Lipsticks When Pregnant
Additionally, if you’re pregnant, apply lipstick moderately and avoid unbranded products. The toxic lead that you might ingest might get passed on to your baby and result in lead poisoning.
Expired Lipsticks Aren’t Extra-Harmful
We’ve all been there, done that. But here’s the good news – expired lipstick isn’t particularly toxic. The lipstick might become too hard, and you might not be able to effectively apply it to your lips, but it won’t cause any ill effects to your health. However, you should discard a lipstick if you’ve been affected by a viral or bacterial infection, as it might spread your virus or bacteria to others around you.
So, these are some major side effects caused by the harmful chemicals and heavy metals present in lipsticks and lip gloss. If possible, opt for a natural alternative that does not contain these toxins. Also, avoid buying lipsticks that aren’t approved by the FDA. To ensure safety, apply lipstick no more than 2 or 3 times a day, as excessive application could be harmful.
On a lighter note, even men are vulnerable to the side effects of lipsticks.