Harmful Effects of Heavy Metals in Lipsticks

Harmful Effects of Heavy Metals in Lipsticks

Off late there have been talks about “concerning” levels of chromium, cadmium, and manganese in popular lipsticks and glosses, making you prone to risk of dangerous diseases and organ damage. The chemicals involved in makeup dont make for news but particularly lipstick because people ingest lipstick throughout the day.

chemicals in lipstick

Heavy metals are high atomic weight elements that exhibit, at room temperature, the properties of a metallic substance. Minute amounts of some heavy metals, including cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, strontium, and zinc, are required by living organisms. However, heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium, can cause serious negative health effects, including carcinogenic or toxic effects that involve, among others, the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, skin, bones and teeth.


Recently many US brands of cosmetics were made to carry “eyeliner and concealers contain cadmium, powders and blushers are not nickel-free, beryllium is found in bronzes and eye-shadow and mascara and foundations even include arsenic.” on the labels. We must know that it is not short term exposure we are talking about, this is long term usage of makeup including lipstick when ingested can make you prone to cancer, reproductive disorders, neurological problems, memory loss, mood swings, contact dermatitis and hair loss. A report also suggests neurotoxins or heavy metals that can lead to birth defects to reduction in IQ or increase ADHD in kids in pregnant mother cases. We must know our skin is the largest organ in the body and it acts like a sponge and we are so exposed to harmful chemicals that eventually these reach out blood stream causing potential damage in the long run. Now here is the positive bit for lipstick lovers, there are some people who do better at detoxifying the toxins from the body where as some may have higher deposits.

Other harmful chemicals such as petrolatum (petroleum), silicone and parabens, are so commonly found these days that it gets difficult to even ignore or walk past.

Aluminum is added to lipsticks to make out lippies last longer and not bleed. Titanium oxide is used as a whitening agent, softening reds into pinks. Though approved by the F.D.A. there are many others that might not be. For example, manufacturers often use glittery, for high shine glosses. Mica contains such metals as lead, manganese, chromium and aluminum.

Parabens also lead to skin allergies, mineral oils can block pores causing acne, Retinyl palmitate
This is a mock form of vitamin A, and is considered hazardous for pregnant women and can cause other reproductive problems. Some metals are absorbed through mucosal tissues in the mouth when we ingest lipstick an apply them throughout the day.

Shimmering colors can be avoided and keep the reapplication to thrice a day if possible. The trick is also to try and go for natural brands using natural ingredients.

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23 thoughts on “Harmful Effects of Heavy Metals in Lipsticks

  1. Great article Neha! I know everyone sez to go for natural products or stuff free from paragons, etc but these products also have very short shelf life, no? Plus, I am still one of those people who do not read the ingredients list *spank* *spank* but kinda assume that if I am buyng a good brand, it would be good quality! I know that isnt always true but…

    1. This is funny when comments to your article go on moderation!! I told you I am one of those people who used to take extra sheet in examination – my comments cannot be short!! Inbuilt problem hai!! Pls rescue!! *headbang* *headbang*

  2. baap re scary.. u knw dats d reason i banned foundation, eye shadows and eye liners completely on my skin.. *scared* *secret* after reading acry after effects. But hw do we knw which brand is culprit of using high amt of these scary stuffs??? *waiting* *waiting*
    Recently read abt loreal maybelline which have high lead content in their lipsticks.. *headbang* *headbang* I so love loreal but.. *cry*
    Natural brands like TBS do have lipsticks but their quality and finishing sucksssssssssss.. *hunterwali* *hunterwali* *headbang* *headbang*

  3. Very well researched article, Neha. And eye-opening too. The problem is that so many products which claim to be natural don’t reveal the chemical part of their ingredients, which can be very misleading. It is getting more and more difficult to find cosmetics that are 100% natural. *waiting*

  4. I am feeling like washing off my face now and go no makeup *pan* *pan*
    thanks for such an informative article Neha *thankyou*

    We should creat a database of all the makeup products which have above mentioned metals as ingredients, that will be very helpful for all…. *haan ji*

  5. I am scared.. i love long lasting makeup but havnt knew that it is harmful too. Also i want to ask whether we can use makeup and anti aging products during pregnancy

  6. Even i read some articles on this Neha di *haan ji* *haan ji* that makeup contains bad stuff *cry* but your article was very exploratory *hifive* *hifive* so i enjoyed reading it *happy dance* *happy dance* *puchhi*

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